# Some lecture notes on p-adic Lie groups

This post is short, and hopefully sweet.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been meaning to clean and upload these lecture notes from a talk I gave early this semester on p-adic Lie groups! The talk was given as part of a weekly seminar attended by faculty and grad students at GT and Emory to learn about Robert Coleman and Claude Chabauty’s remarkable attempts to provide an effective proof of the Mordell Conjecture (a.k.a. Falting’s Theorem) using methods from p-adic analysis. The seminar was organized by Matt Baker (whose own wonderful blog can be found here).

You’ll find very few proofs: the goal was to give the statements and intuition behind the main structure theorem. The target audience is someone with good general knowledge of (real) differential topology and of the p-adic numbers, but possibly little or no knowledge of (real) Lie group theory. (i.e., the audience is precisely myself prior to preparing these notes.) There are bits at the beginning and end which are intended to relate these ideas to Chabauty’s method and to Bill McCallum’s paper on Chabauty for Fermat curves. In the talk, they were intended as motivation, but for anyone seeking to learn about Lie theory, they’re basically beside the point.

Anyways, enough delay – the file can be downloaded by clicking here. I only ask that anyone using these notes let me know of any errors you may find!

P.S. Last semester (in the Yellow Pigs’ collective final semester at Michigan) I had a class with Bill Fulton on schemes and cohomology in which he presented a beautifully geometric proof of Serre duality for curves, purportedly due to George Kempf. At some point, I’d like to collect this proof from several badly organized notebooks and put it here as well, and in the meantime I’ll probably be posting a series of notes related to schemes, sheaves, and cohomology building towards that goal, so stay tuned!

# Alexander Grothendieck (1928-2014)

“The introduction of the cipher 0 or the group concept was general nonsense too, and mathematics was more or less stagnating for thousands of years because nobody was around to take such childish steps…” ~A. Grothendieck

So I do not speak french, or know the validity of this website, but the French website Liberation seems to be reporting that Alexander Grothendieck passed away today in Ariege. According to Google Translate: Thanks to quasihumanist (see comments) for the above translation, which is much better than the original Google translation I posted:

“Alexandre Grothendieck passed away Thursday morning at the Hospital of Saint-Girons (in Arige), aged 86. A name too complicated to remember and a will determined to disappear, to erase his life and his work, wished that his death would pass unnoticed. But the man was too large and the mathematician too important for his effacement to be total. At Sivens, the ZADists (NB: This was a recent protest movement against the building of a dam in France.) had undoubtedly never heard of the man who started a political movement, after having reconstructed math in the manner of Euclid.”

Alexander Grothendieck (1928-2014) (Photo from the Grothendieck Circle)

Again I am not sure about the validity of these claims, but if true mathematics has lost a true pioneer. Added: It appears that Le Monde is also reporting the sad news of Grothendieck’s passing earlier today:

“Regarded as the greatest mathematician of the twentieth century, Alexander Grothendieck died Thursday, November 13, at the Hospital of Saint-Girons (Ariège), not far from Lasserre, the village where he was secretly retired at the beginning of the 1990s , cutting off all contact with the world. He was 86 years old. Stateless naturalized French in 1971, also known for his radical pacifist and environmentalist engagement, this unique and mythical mathematician leaves a considerable body of scientific work.”

The above quotation was translated via Google Translate, and so might not be accurate. Again thank you to quasihumanist for fixing the translation. (Other corrections are welcome, please let me know.) This is certainly sad news. Although in recent years he has  a somewhat tense relationship with the math community and academia (for example). Grothendieck revolutionized many fields of math, and shaped the careers of numerous mathematicians. As a small example, I would most likely note be spending my evening working through Harthshorne problems had it not been for Grothendieck. I feel it is certainly not an understatement to say that today the mathematical community has lost a legend.

For those unfamiliar with the work and life of Alexander Grothendieck — both of which are fascinating in their own right — there have been numerous great biographies in the last few years. Some that I remember include:

• Comme Appelé du Néant — As If Summoned from the Void: The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck (Allyn Jackson) – Part 1 & Part 2
• Alexander Grothendieck: A Country Know Only By Name (Pierre Cartier) Link
• The Rising Sea: Grothendieck on simplicity and generality I (Colin McLarty) – Link, Video

Additionally information about Grothendieck can be found at the Grothendieck Circle – – which is where the above image is from.

More to come as I figure out more…

Update #1 (11/13 – 7:18pm): Scott Morrison is also sharing this article over on the Secret Blogging Seminar. Although he includes no exposition, and so I still don’t wanna confirm this.

Update #2: (11/13 – 7:25pm): After a little googling it seems that Liberation is a major daily paper in France circulating over 100,000 papers [Source]. That said a GoogleNews search for “Grothendieck” terms up only one result in the last 24 hours (the Liberation article).

Update #3: (11/13 – 7:41pm): Le Monde is now also reporting on the passing of Alexander Grothendieck. It appears the sad news is most likely true. The above post has been updated to reflect this.

Update #4: (11/13 – 7:57pm): I have been adding additional links to various articles regarding Grothendieck, as well as adding the above picture. A more recent photo of Grothendieck, from the Heidelberg Laureates Forum, can be seen bellow:

Photo from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Update #5 (11/13 – 8:08pm): Peter Woit is also blogging about Grothendieck’s passing over on Not Even Wrong. He also points to another blog post for information regarding Grothendieck’s more recent life.

Update #6 (11/14 8:40am): The news has slowly begun to trickle out via english sources, although no major  english news providers (NYT, Guardian, the Post, etc.) have ran a story yet. As one might expect many of these stories have focused less on the mathematical resolution that Grothendieck nurtured, but instead on some of the more unusual aspects of his life. That said what hopefully will be a deep, useful, and possibly cathartic discussion of his work has begun over on MathOverflow.

Update #7 (11/14 8:56am): Over on Not Even Wrong Winfried Scharlau, mathematician and author of possibly one of the more complete biographies on Grothendieck, has left the following comment, which is a good reminder for all:

“Grothendieck has passed away, a great man and a great human being. I think it is a matter of respect and a matter of honesty to be very careful with statements about him. The internet is full with wrong, half-true, incomplete, sensational and misleading information about him. Do not believe everyting you read and check everything carefully.

Winfried Scharlau”

Update #8 (11/14 9:23am): The original translations from the Liberation and Le Monde have been edited to reflect the corrections suggested by quasihumanist. Thanks.

Update #9 (11/14 9:29am): The news appears to have finally made its way to english sources, with ABC News and SFGate running the following report from the Associated Press:

“Alexander Grothendieck, an opinionated and reclusive giant of 20th-century mathematics who shunned accolades and supported pacifist and environmental causes, has died, the French presidency said Friday. He was 86.

He died Thursday at hospital in the southwestern town of Saint-Girons, hospital officials said.

Grothendieck was leading mind behind algebraic geometry — a field with practical applications including in satellite communications. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966.

According to French daily Le Monde, Grothendieck had been living for years in a hideaway home in the nearby village of Lasserre.

The German-born son of an anarchist Russian-Jewish father and German mother, Grothendieck took his mother’s family name. As World War II neared, he fled to France, and later spent time in an internment camp. His father died in Auschwitz.” — (AP/ABC News)

Hopefully, in the coming days more complete coverage of this will be given.

Update #10 (11/15 – 5:49pm): The larger English media outlets have begun putting out more complete stories on this. In particular, the New York Times has one of the better articles on this I’ve read so far, although it is far from great. Also it included the following line that I find mysterious:

“Mr. Grothendieck’s work was also a steppingstone to solutions of enigmas famous among mathematicians — the Poincaré conjecture, for instance — but far more arcane.”

I did not know that Grothendieck played a part in the proof of the Poincare conjecture. Is this a mistake? If not can someone briefly describe his contribution in this area? The Telegraph also has a very nice obituary, which does a good job not falling into some of the easy cliched narratives that other news agencies have leaned on — i.e lone genius, crazy, etc. Although I feel it does not full delve into the reasons leading to Grothendieck’s break with the mathematical community in the late 1970’s. In different direction a French television station went to the village where Grothendieck apparently spent his last years. Once again my inability to understand French means I have no idea what’s being said. If someone wants to translate this, or has a transcription, I would really thankful. (Thanks to Als over in the comment section of Not Even Wrong for posting this video.)

Update #11 (11/15 – 6:11pm): IHES, the place Grtohendeick spent most of his professional career, has create a webpage in honor of Grothendieck with the following statement:

“Grothendieck has profoundly marked the history of mathematics. Hailed as one of the most influential mathematicians of the twentieth century, he considered himself as a ” builder of cathedrals .” Its ambitious fusion arithmetic, algebraic geometry and topology continues to structure contemporary mathematics. IHÉS hosted one of the most extraordinary seminars mathematics, ” Seminar Grothendieck algebraic geometry . The requirement , originality and generosity of spirit Grothendieck founded the Institute . This level of excellence that is brought from a major asset as well as a responsibility for the Institute. The name Alexander Grothendieck is inextricably linked to that of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques . IHÉS now wants to make a humble and sincere in this exceptional tribute mathematician.”

Again translated via Google Translate so corrections are appreciated.

# Fun With Toric Varieties (I)

Toric varieties are fun things…

Proposition: The blowup of $latex \mathbb{P}^2$ at two points is isomorphic to $latex \mathbb{P}^1\times\mathbb{P}^1$ blown up at one point.

Proof:

Fan for the blowup of P^2 at two points.

Fan for the blowup of P^1 x P^1 at one point.

Done.

# What is group cohomology?

Of all the ubiquitous and mysterious algebraic tools that appear in number theory and arithmetic geometry – and surely, there are many – group cohomology remained an impenetrable black box to me for quite a while. Although I still consider myself a near absolute beginner in the topic, my goal in this post is to demystify it at least a little for those unfamiliar with it and hoping to get a window into its inner life.

The window through which we will peak is called Galois descent.

First, I’m going to to explain by example the type of glimpse I want to give. If you’ve ever studied any algebraic topology, you’re surely familiar with the singular cohomology of a topological space, and you also likely know that the cohomological cup product gives these groups (collectively) the structure of a graded-commutative ring. What you may not know, however, is that when the modern definition of cohomology was first formulated in the mid-1920’s, mathematicians like Schubert and Poincaré had already been computing these rings for more than half a century!

So how were they studying cohomology before cohomology existed? The answer is called the intersection ring. Consider a closed smooth manifold, and think about the free abelian group on the set of all closed submanifolds. We can define a natural equivalence relation by identifying submanifolds that can be wiggled onto eachother. (More precisely, we use cobordism: kill off a linear combination of submanifolds if their disjoint union is the boundary of a submanifold – not necessarily closed – in higher dimension.) Finally, we can define a product by wiggling pairs of submanifolds until they intersect transversally, and then taking intersections. This gives us a graded-commutative ring, where the grading is by codimension.

Now if we triangulate all the submanifolds in the picture, we can turn them into simplicial chains. In fact, the relation of cobordism turns out to be exactly equivalence-mod-boundaries, and the group we constructed is exactly the direct sum of singular homology groups! Better yet, since we’re on a closed manifold, we can use Poincaré duality to move the ring structure to cohomology, and there it miraculously agrees with the regular old cup product! This alternative intersection-ring description of the cohomology ring has a narrower definition (it doesn’t work on arbitrary topological spaces), but it has much richer geometric intuition, and it was the object of interest to the 19th century geometers mentioned above.

My goal here is less ambitious, but it has a similar flavor. Group cohomology is an invariant of a group acting on another group. In a very, very special case (in the case of a Galois group acting on the automorphism group of one of a few types of interesting object) I want to give an explicit and concrete description of the first cohomology of this action. We’ll finish up by using this description to give a wonderfully simple proof of Hilbert’s theorem 90, which I claim essentially just says that all one-dimensional vector spaces are isomorphic!

# What is Galois descent?

Galois descent studies the following hilariously vague problem: let k be a field, probably not algebraically closed, and let X be a thing over k. It might be:

1. An algebraic variety, maybe a plane conic, for instance.
2. A vector space.
3. An algebra.
4. More generally, we could consider a vector space equipped with some other kind of extra linear structure, such as a linear or bilinear form. (Note that an algebra is a special case of this; it’s just a vector space with a bilinear form satisfying some identities.)

Pretty much anything goes, provided that it has one important property: we need to be able to “tensor” with field extensions, to move our object X to bigger fields. In cases 2-4, it’s obvious what we mean: a literal tensor product of vector spaces. In case 1, it’s also not too bad: tensor product just means regular old algebraic geometry base change. (Take the same equations and put them over a bigger field!)

In general, we’ll write $X_L$ or $X\otimes L$ for this base change when L/k is the field extension.

Galois descent attempts to answer the following question: given a field extension L/k and an L-thing X, which k-things become isomorphic to X when we tensor everything with L? In other words, when is $Y_L=X$? These are called the Galois twists or just twists of X.

When our extension is a separable closure, and X is the projective line, we are classifying plane conics up to isomorphism. When X is a matrix algebra, it is a (very nontrivial) fact that the objects Y are precisely the central simple k-algebras of the same dimension, and the theory presented here is the first step in describing the Brauer group of a field in terms of cohomology.

(In fact, with the right formalism, the examples of a matrix algebra and a projective space are basically the same!)

For a general extension, this is a hard problem, but when the extension L/k is Galois, we can exploit the Galois group in a fabulously cool way.

# Actually doing descent

First, let’s set up some notation.

1. $G=\text{Gal}(L/k)$ is the Galois group of our field extension.
2. $A=\text{Aut}(X)$ is the group of automorphisms of our object X.

The surprising goal of the next couple paragraphs is to construct a map

$\phi:\{Y\text{ with }Y_L\cong X\}\rightarrow\{\text{maps of sets } G\rightarrow A\}$.

Then, we’ll modify the target of this map to get a bijection, and find out that the set on the left can be naturally thought of as a cohomology set!

So how does this map work? Well we obviously need to start with some suitable Y, and then we need to choose an isomorphism $f:X\rightarrow Y_L$. (For now, our map will depend on this choice. We’ll fix that later.) Additionally, we need some $\sigma\in G$, and we need to explain where it goes in $A$. To do this, notice that an automorphism of the field extension induces an automorphism $\sigma_X$ of $X$ and one $\sigma_Y$ of $Y_L$.

Beware: these automorphisms are weird! In particular, suppose $Y$ is a real vector space and our field extension is $\mathbb{C}/\mathbb{R}$. Then complex conjugation acts on $Y\otimes\mathbb{C}$, but it is not a $\mathbb{C}$-linear map; it’s only $\mathbb{R}$-linear! This is something to be aware of, but it won’t be an issue, in the end.

Now we have maps $\sigma_X:X\to X$ and $\sigma_{Y}:Y_L\to Y_L$, and together with our original isomorphism f, we get a square diagram of maps. But lo! This diagram does not commute! Of course, when we have a square diagram of isomorphisms, its failure to commute is measured by a particular automorphism of any one of the objects present – we’ll pick X. The point is that if we start at X and work around the square, composing as we go, we’ll get an automorphism – an element of A, just like we wanted! So our map is given by

$\phi(Y,f)(\sigma) = \sigma_X^{-1}\circ\sigma_Y^f$,

where exponentiation denotes conjugation, to simplify the notation: $\sigma_Y^f=f^{-1}\circ\sigma_Y\circ f$.

Note that we kept the isomorphism f as part of our notation, since the map isn’t quite well-defined on Y alone, yet. We’ll fix this soon. The rest of what we want to do will now be summarized as a series of exercises, some easy and some hard, and the interested reader is encouraged to try them all out!

From this point on, we’ll forget about case 1, where X is an algebraic variety. While this is an important and interesting case of descent, it is harder, and the statements are not as simple and explicit as what we’re about to prove. So now let’s take X to be a vector space, possibly with some additional linear structure.

Exercises

1. In your favorite case of our construction (variety, vector space, algebra, etc.), check that this the map $\phi(Y,f)$ really lands in the automorphism group. That is, check that even though $\sigma_X$ and $\sigma_Y$ are only k-linear, the whole composite described above is actually L-linear.
2. Verify the identity

$\phi(Y,f)(\sigma\tau)=\phi(Y,f)(\sigma)^{\tau_X}\phi(Y,f)(\tau)$

Such a map is called a twisted homomorphism, and we’ll denote the set of these maps by $\text{THom}(G,A)$.

3. Consider any twisted homomorphism $\psi:G\to A$. Produce some Y/k which becomes isomorphic to X over L (by some isomorphism f, for instance), and with the property that $\phi(Y,f)=\psi$. (Try to give an operation of G on X using your map, although it won’t quite be a group action. Now check that the subspace of invariants is a k-subspace – with whatever linear structure you imposed – and that the inclusion becomes an isomorphism when we pass back to L.)
We now have a “surjection” (which is still not yet well-defined)

$\phi:\{Y\text{ with }Y_L\cong X\}\rightarrow\text{THom}(G,A)$.

4. Next, consider another isomorphism $g:X\to Y_L$. The composite map $\alpha=f^{-1}\circ g$ is an automorphism of X. Verify that the $\phi(Y,f)$ and $\phi(Y,g)$ are related by the formula

$\phi(Y,f)(\sigma)=\alpha^{-1}\circ\phi(Y,g)(\sigma)\circ\alpha^{\sigma_X}$.

Now if we let ~ denote the equivalence relation that we’ve just described, we have a well-defined surjection

$\phi:\{Y\text{ with }Y_L\cong X\}\rightarrow\text{THom}(G,A)/\sim$.

5. Finally, check that this map is injective by proving the converse to 4: if two twisted homomorphisms are related as in 4 by some automorphism $\alpha\in A$, then they in fact come from the same k-object Y, just with a different choice of isomorphism $X\to Y_L$.

So the moral is this: objects that become X after a base change along L/k (provided L/k is Galois) are the same thing as twisted homomorphisms $G\to A$ up to some equivalence relation. Let’s call that latter set $H^1(G,A)$.

While it may not be obvious whether this thing is any easier to compute than what we started with, it’s pretty easy to see that these sets, when A is abelian, have a natural group structure, and are really Ext-groups, which can be studied with all the machinery of homological algebra. When A is not abelian, the picture is not as nice, but often we can understand them by fitting A into short exact sequences with abelian groups, and then studying long exact sequences. (Details of all this can be found in any number of books, such as Serre’s Local Fields, the appendix to Silverman’s Arithmetic of Elliptic Curves, and Cassels and Froelich’s Algebraic Number Theory.)

We conclude with a final application, which will apply these ideas “in reverse,” computing a cohomology group by a trivial observation about base change. This theorem is commonly referred to as Hilbert’s theorem 90. If you’ve taken a basic graduate field theory or number theory class, you may have seen a form of this result, although you might be surprised by how easy the proof is using the observations here!

Theorem Let L/k be a Galois extension of fields with Galois group G. Then

$H^1(G, L^{\times})=0$.

Proof  The group $L^\times$ is the automorphism group of a 1-dimensional L-vector space (with no extra linear structure). The k-vector spaces V with $V\otimes L\cong L$ are really just the one-dimensional ones, and those are all isomorphic! Therefore, this cohomology set has only one element. $\square$

This fact, which may seem esoteric right now, can be combined with the long-exact group cohomology sequence to give an extremely easy proof of the main result of Kummer theory, which totally classifies cyclic extensions of fields with enough roots of unity. The results of Kummer theory are essentially the model and inspiration for class field theory, which is also typically proven using group cohomology.

Exercise  Note that $L^\times = \text{GL}_1(L)$. Generalize this proof to any $\text{GL}_{n}(L)$! In fact, the same proof works for n an infinite cardinal.

I’ll end with a question about something that I suspect is probably well-studied, but that I certainly know nothing about. Essentially, the goal of representation is to relate arbitrary groups to linear groups like the ones whose cohomology we’ve just come to understand, and this begs the following question:

• Under what circumstances does a subgroup of a linear group consist of the automorphisms of some linear structure?
• Can we do this systematically, and find canonical linear structures associated to a wide class of groups, particularly linear structures whose twists are easy to understand?

# Fields Medalists 2014!

The 2014 Fields medalists have been announced, and the winners are:

• Artur Avila (IMPA – Dynamical Systems): “for his profound contributions to dynamical systems theory, which have changed the face of the field, using the powerful idea of renormalization as a unifying principle.”
• Manjul Bhargava (Princeton – Number Theory): “for developing powerful new methods in the geometry of numbers, which he applied to count rings of small rank and to bound the average rank of elliptic curves.”
• Martin Hairer (University of Warwick – Stochastic PDE’s): “for his outstanding contributions to the theory of stochastic partial differential equations, and in particular for the creation of a theory of regularity structures for such equations.”
• Maryam Mirzakhani (Stanford – Teichmuller Theory & Ergodic Theory): “for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.”

The big news, aside from the announcement itself, is that for the first time in its almost 80 year history the Fields Medal is recognizing the outstanding work of a female mathematician! Hopefully this will continue in the future, and the award will continue to become more inclusive. Congratulations to these four outstanding mathematicians! (Hopefully in the coming days I’ll have time to track down/write a more complete biography/research sketches for the winners, but for right now you’ll just have to settle for their Wiki entry or homepage.)

Update #1 (8/12/14 – 1:50pm): I added the prized citations listed by the International Mathematical Union, which can be found here. The IMU also has brief sketches of each of their works.

Update #2 (8/12/14 – 7:43pm): It seems that traditional media sources have caught wind of this, and are beginning to release their stories on the announcement. Here are a couple of the more memorable quotes from some of these:

• A Women Has Won the Fields Medal (Slate): “Which — and I apologize to mathematicians out there for whatever I do to butcher this description— roughly means that she considers abstract questions related to non-Euclidean entities such as, for example, the surface of a pretzel.”
• Top Math Prize Has Its First Female Winner (NYT): “While women have reached parity in many academic fields, mathematics is still dominated by men, who earn about 70 percent of the doctoral degrees. The disparity is even more striking at the highest echelons. Since 2003, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize, recognizing outstanding mathematicians with a monetary award of about \$1 million; all 14 recipients so far are men. No woman has won the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, another prestigious award.”
• Top Mathematics Prize Awarded to Women for First Time (Time): “Daubechies added: “At the IMU we believe that mathematical talent is spread randomly and uniformly over the Earth – it is just opportunity that is not. We hope very much that by making more opportunities available – for women, or people from developing countries – we will see more of them at the very top not just in the rank and file.”’
• Stanford’s Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal (Stanford): ‘”I don’t have any particular recipe,” Mirzakhani said of her approach to developing new proofs. “It is the reason why doing research is challenging as well as attractive. It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.”‘

As you can see much of the focus is rightfully on the ground breaking recognition of Prof. Mirzakhani. That said most of the current articles are somewhat shallow, and I hope in the  coming days this inspires a more widespread and thoughtful discussion of the systemic barriers that have existed and continue to exist in the mathematical community, and how we can work to make mathematics more inclusive. (Remember this moment is remarkable in part because it took 70+ years and 52 medals before it happened…)

Some of the best coverage I’ve seen has come from the Simons Foundation and Quanta Magazine, which has not only great articles on each recipient and their work, but also lovely videos with each winner. (I do wonder how did the manage to get these done so fast. Did someone from the IMU tip them off to who would win (when are winners decided anyways? Or did they just go around to everyone they thought might win, and ask to do a video?)  Either way this is great!

(PS: I am so excited about all of this that my dinner is now cold because I couldn’t stop… Shoot :/, but really :D)

# Life Updates – (The Decision)

So as I promised in the last post here is a quick rundown of all the exciting things that have happened in the last couple months!

• The Wait is Over: I got offers from graduate schools! Without going into all of the details I received multiple exceptionally generous offers from a many amazing places. This made deciding on where I was going pretty difficult, although I feel I had an easier time of it than others, but I am so blessed to have been given all of these choices. Thanks to all those who have helped me through the last year; I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

• The Decision: I decided where I am going to graduate school!! But being the closest thing I’ll probably ever get to my own The Decision, I am going to drag the suspense out as long as possible… (or just scroll to the bottom).

• Final Finals: I took my last ever finals as an undergraduate. It turns out that one of my professors had decided to offer the final in-class before the scheduled day on the syllabus. Needless to say I missed this change, and so ended up not making the in-class final! (You’d think that by my senior year I would have figured this whole school thing out.) Luckily the professor was understanding and allowed me, and the other students who missed the change (I wasn’t the only one), to take the final on the originally scheduled day, and everything worked out. Also in the end I wrote, what I thought, was a pretty interesting essay on the role technology has played in the ascendancy of presidential power over congress. (Maybe I’ll write about this someday.)

• Graduation: I graduated from the University of Michigan!  For me this marked to closing of an amazing four years full of great friends, great classes, and great experiences many of which I would have never imagined I’d have when I arrived on campus as a freshperson. That said graduation itself was a great time fill with FOUR different ceremonies over two days; one of which included spending fours hours in forty degree rain, ok that part was not to fun. Overall it was a nice way to end my time at Michigan, and start my next adventure at….

So without further ado: I have decide to talk my talents (whatever amount I have) to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI!

As I mentioned above deciding where I was going to go wasn’t easy, but after visiting Madison for a couple of days I knew it was the right choice. The city itself seems amazing! It’s about twice the size of Ann Arbor, but in no way seems overwhelming and still manages to have some amazing natural scenery. The professors and grad students I had the chance to meet were all exceptionally nice and willing to be honest about what their experiences at the University of Wisconsin, which was very helpful when it came time to make a decision. (I will say it was incredibly helpful that Prof. Erman had been at U of M and so was able t0 comparing UW to the only university I really know UM. Thanks!) So for the next stage of my life I will be in Madison!

Finally, again I need to thank everyone who has helped me through he craziness that has been the last year. There are way too many people for me to thank everyone individually, and so to you all THANK YOU!

# MMUSSL 2014

So its been a hectic last few months with grad school visits, finals, graduation… but more about that in a future post. Right now I wanted to mention that Xander and I are currently hosting the inaugural Michigan Math Undergrad Summer Seminar Lunch (MUSSL) — not the best acronym, but not the worst — which is a series of weekly mini courses given by,  hosted by, and aimed at undergrads. We are planning on having five series of talks over six weeks. Right now the schedule is:

Currently we are in the fourth week, and so far I think things have gone fairly well. Its been a great learning experience both in learning some cool math and in planning/hosting a series of talks. Maybe in the future I will write up some thoughts on this.

During the first two weeks we taped the lectures, and these are available at the links above. (Sorry in advance for the poor quality we are working on fixing that in the future.) In the near future we hope to also post lecture notes from these talks. Stay tuned here or here for future updates!

PS: On an unrelated cats are good at Jenga? Who knew?