Mathematical structures and patterns inspired by physics
Professor Andrey Lazarev explains the relevance of physics to Pure Mathematics in his inaugural lecture.
Issued on 13 May
One of the defining qualities of modern mathematics is its ever-closer interaction with theoretical physics, and in his inaugural lecture at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 10th June, Professor Andrey Lazarev will explain how physical intuition and methods have become relevant to the most abstract parts of Pure Mathematics.
“One can say that theoretical physics has become a branch of pure mathematics and some even criticise physics for having become so abstract as to lose all connections to reality,” explained Professor Lazarev.
“Here 'theoretical physics' is understood in the narrow sense as physics of elementary particles or high energy physics. Indeed, the processes governing our universe on the most basic, elementary level, are so much unlike everything we experience in our everyday life that we cannot hope to gain any intuitive, common-sense understanding of it.
“Our best hope is to construct a certain mathematical model having predictive powers. To complicate matters, such a theory would be very hard to test experimentally as the energies needed much exceed our capacities and one would have to resort to rather indirect ways of verification.
“However, things look brighter on the side of pure mathematics as physical methods and insights turned out to be extremely useful for tackling its problems, whose origins often have nothing to do with physics and had been known and studied for completely unrelated reasons.
“One can say that presently between mathematics and physics the former benefits more from their collaboration than the latter.”
In his lecture, ‘Mathematical Structures and Patterns Inspired by Physics’, Professor Lazarev will concentrate on one of numerous examples of interactions between mathematics and physics, relating to the interpretation of elementary particles as curvilinear rather than point-like objects (which is the main principle of string theory).
“This point of view and ideas surrounding it turned out to be unusually effective in studying such classical mathematical concepts as the geometry of moduli spaces of two-dimensional surfaces, gave rise and provided decisive examples of exciting new structures such as topological field theories and operadic algebras,” said Professor Lazarev.
Professor Andrey Lazarev’s talk, ‘Mathematical Structures and Patterns Inspired by Physics’ will take place on Tuesday 10th June at 5.30pm in the Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1, on the University’s main campus. It is open to the public and free of charge.
Notes to Editors: For more information on this please contact Andrey Lazarev, Professor of Pure Mathematics, University of Leicester, tel 0116 252 3892, email firstname.lastname@example.org