The Seminar

The goal of the Hypatian Seminar is to explore the contributions of underrepresented groups to the field of mathematics and to provide a forum to discuss the additional challenges they face in academia. If you are interested in speaking or have a suggestion for a discussion topic, please contact Sheri Tamagawa, Massy Khoshbin, or Michael Dougherty.

The seminar meets weekly on Mondays at 3:30-4:30 pm in South Hall 6635.


Spring 2017 Schedule

April 3rd

What it looks like inside the three sphere

Steve Trettel, UCSB

In the course of studying low dimensional Topology you get very accustomed to viewing the three dimensional sphere through stereographic projection - for example this is how most of the neat looking pictures of four dimensional polytopes and the hopf fibration that you'll find on the internet are made. However, much like maps of the Earth, these pictures radically distort the geometry of the 3-sphere, and do not provide us with an accurate feel for what it would look like if we were to actually be inside of it.

In this talk I will review the standard stereographic projection and then turn to a discussion of how to draw an undistorted view. And, as usual, there'll be lots of pretty pictures!

April 10th

Mentor/Mentee Re-Meet Up

We're going to have another mentor/mentee casual chat, now that the first years have been here for a while.

April 17th

AWM and Hypatian Seminar Wine and Cheese Night

Co-hosted with the UCSB AWM Chapter

Please note the special time and location: 5:00 pm in the Tea Room.

The UCSB AWM Chapter and the Hypatian Seminar would like to invite you to join us for a wine and cheese night. Through this social event, we hope to bring together all members of the mathematics department committed to supporting individuals in traditionally underrepresented groups. Cheese, fruit, and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. For those that are 21+, please bring any wine you would like to contribute to the event. We hope to see you there!

April 24th

Teaching Statement Panel

Co-hosted with the Teaching and Learning Seminar

See The Teaching and Learning Seminar for details

May 1st

The Linear Algebra of Language

Joules Nahas, Palantir Technologies

How would you write an application that classifies the subject of a math paper based on the text in the abstract? How would you automatically summarize a paper? Machine learning algorithms provide solutions to these problems, given that one can sufficiently encode the information in a paper as statistics. We survey some methods in identifying words with vectors in $\mathbb R^n$ in order to generate predictive features of a paper, and describe how to use these features in machine learning solutions to the above problems.

May 8th

Introduction to Python Programming

Kyle Mylonakis and Jay Roberts, UCSB

We will be giving an introduction to programming through the user friendly and widely used programming language Python, together with some common packages including numpy and scipy. This talk is aimed at people who have never programmed before.

Below is a download link to Canopy which is a free python development environment that already includes the packages we will be working with. Please download and install it before attending.

If you need any help downloading or setting up these programs contact Kyle or Jay.

May 15th

An Introduction to Modular Categories

Julia Plavnik, Texas A&M University

The problem of classifying modular categories is motivated by applications to topological quantum computation as algebraic models for topological phases of matter. These categories also have applications in different areas of mathematics like topological quantum field theory, von Neumann algebras, representation theory, and others.

In this talk, we will start by introducing some of the basic definitions and properties of fusion, braided, and modular categories, and we will also give some concrete examples to have a better understanding of their structures. We will emphasize some of the interesting properties and structures that modular categories carry with them. If time allows, we will comment on the situation of the classification program for these kinds of categories.

May 22nd

TQFT, n-categories, and Bar-Natan Skein Modules

Lyla Fadali, Occidental College

In 2016, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for work related to topological quantum field theory. I will talk about topological quantum field theory from a mathematical perspective, and how it relates to higher categories. In particular, I will discuss how my work on Bar-Natan skein modules fits into the landscape of topological quantum field theory with other examples such as Turaev-Viro invariants. Minimal background will be assumed.

June 5th

How to be a good teacher is an undecidable problem

Erica Flapan, Pomona College

Please note the special time: 4:00 pm

I spent much of my early career trying to find the algorithm for how to be a good teacher. I read articles about pedagogical techniques and talked to successful teachers about their methods. But nothing seemed to work quite as well for me as it did for the person describing it. Then I began to compare being a good teacher with being a good parent. I had never sought an algorithm for good parenting, so why should I expect there to be one for good teaching. In fact, there is no teaching technique that will work at all institutions, for all teachers, all classes, and all students. Rather, each person's teaching methods should fit their personality and their mathematical preferences as well as the needs and goals of their courses and their students. In this talk, I will talk about my development as a teacher, and describe some pedagogical techniques that have worked for me and others that have not.


Winter 2017 Schedule

February 6th

The Best Advice I've Received

Alissa Crans, Loyola Marymount University

My career trajectory has been anything but traditional. I accepted a tenure-track offer at Loyola Marymount University immediately after finishing my PhD, then went on leave twice to take postdoctoral positions at The Ohio-State University and the University of Chicago. After earning tenure, I participated in the sabbatical program at the NSA, and have been the Director of Educational and Outreach Activities at the MSRI (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute) in Berkeley, CA. None of this would have happened without great advice, support, and encouragement I've received along the way from my thesis advisor, mentors, parents, and even my high school band director! I'll share some of this advice and am very happy to answer any questions about my background or experiences.

February 27th

Of Mice and Math

Ami Radunskaya, Pomona College

The title is meant to suggest that mathematics can be a link between experimental science and practical medicine, although in reality only a few mice will actually appear in this talk.

I hope to tell you a story of discovery through interdisciplinary collaboration. In particular, I will tell you about four collaborations between mathematicians and scientists at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. These four models illustrate different modeling modalities, different mathematical techniques, and different goals.

March 6th

Using Mathematica to visualize low dimensional topology

Steve Trettel, UCSB

I'm a very visually-oriented person, and so having an accurate picture of what I am trying to think about has always been helpful. Unfortunately as the math I tried to learn progressed in complexity the requisite pictures far surpassed my (quite limited) drawing ability. So over the past few years I've been teaching myself to use Mathematica's capabilities to produce high-quality graphics of things I think about, and I'd like to share some of the skills I've picked up with you!

I will assume no prior knowledge of Mathematica at all (we will start out by graphing x^2), and will have Mathematica worksheets prepared so you can follow along on your own computers (this talk really is structured with the intent that you will be working alongside me on your computer - so if you don't have a copy of Mathematica installed yet go get one - its free through the department!).

For an example of the types of films I hope to help you make during the seminar, click below!

March 13th

Making an Academic Website

Michael Dougherty, UCSB

The academic website is an essential component to networking and presenting your research. In this seminar, we will discuss all the components of making a website, including HTML/CSS, uploading your files to the department web server, and what to actually put on your page in the first place. If you bring your laptop along, you will be able to post a first draft of your website by the end of the workshop.


Fall 2016 Schedule

September 26th

Organizational Meeting

October 3rd

Mentor/Mentee Meeting

Every year the Hypatian Seminar pairs first year graduate students with older math graduate student mentors.

October 10th

Job Panel

We will be hosting a panel on how to find a job in academia. Our own Maribel Bueno Cachadina, Katy Craig, Xianzhe Dai, Sian Fryer, and Cristian Martinez will be serving on the panel, moderated by Priyam Patel.

October 17th

How to Advance to Candidacy Panel

Confused about how to advance to candidacy? Not even sure what that means? Then join us for a panel of newly advanced grad students in different areas of study who will discuss their strategies to pass to the next level. Our very own Kate Hake, David Wen, Lan Liu, and Josh Pankau will be there to answer your questions and share their experience! If we're lucky Medina might even stop by.

October 31st

Informal Chat with Jing Tao

Jing Tao, University of Oklahoma

We will be hosting an informal chat with Jing Tao (who will also be speaking at the Topology Seminar next Tuesday) as part of the Hypatian Seminar.

November 28th

Getting an Academic Job: My Story

Susan Sierra, University of Edinburgh

Susan Sierra completed her PhD at the University of Michigan, did postdocs at Princeton and the University of Washington, and is now a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. She will give a short talk about her experiences in academia, and in particular finding academic jobs, and then we'll open it up to a Q&A session and discussion moderated by Priyam Patel.

December 6th

Informal Chat with Pallavi Dani

Pallavi Dani, Louisiana State University

Please join us for an informal chat with Pallavi Dani. There will be cookies.