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"The Quadratic Formula Revisited". Hirzebruch lecture by Bernd Sturmfels on Thursday, 9 November 2023, University Club Bonn

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Bernd Sturmfels
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig
Don, 09/11/2023 - 18:30 - 19:30
University Club Bonn

High school students learn how to express the solution of a quadratic equation in one unknown in terms of its three coefficients. Why does this formula matter? We offer an answer in terms of discriminants and data. This lecture invites the audience to a journey towards non-linear algebra.

Bernd Sturmfels received doctoral degrees in 1987 from the University of Washington and the Technical University Darmstadt, and an honorary doctorate in 2015 from the Goethe University Frankfurt. After postdoctoral years in Minneapolis and Linz, he taught at Cornell University, before joining UC Berkeley in 1995, where he served as Professor of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Since 2017 he is a director at the Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig. In 2018 he became Honarary Professor at Technical University Berlin and University of Leipzig. His awards include a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, a Humboldt Senior Research Prize, the SIAM von Neumann Lecturership, the Sarlo Distinguished Mentoring Award, and the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics. He is a fellow of the AMS and SIAM, and a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. In 2022 he spoke at the International Congress of Mathematicians. Sturmfels mentored 60 doctoral students and numerous postdocs, and he authored 11 books and 300 research articles, in combinatorics, commutative algebra, algebraic geometry, and their applications to fields like statistics, optimization, and computational biology.

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