Math Expert Probes ‘Geometry Old & New’ Nov. 1

Robert Bryant, Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, UC Berkeley, will deliver the 60th Harry S. Kieval Lecture, “Geometry Old and New: from Euclid to String Theory,” on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Founder’s Hall, Room 118, at Humboldt State University.

Bryant’s talk, sponsored by HSU’s Department of Mathematics, will trace the history of classical geometry’s impact on human understanding of the physical world and its links to Einstein’s theory of relativity and contemporary versions of string theory.

Chair of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute since 2007, Bryant specializes in differential geometry, with a focus on exterior differential systems, special holonomy and Finsler geometry. Holonomy is a branch of geometry dealing with curved surfaces.

Bryant earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1979.

The Institute was founded in 1982 and is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, with further support from other government agencies, private foundations, academic sponsors and corporate partners.

Preceding the Nov. 1 Kieval Lecture, Bryant will take part in the Department of Mathematics’ Fall 2012 Colloquium Series the same day at 4 p.m. in the Science B Building, Room 133. The subject is “Convex Billiards and non-Holonomic Systems.”

Both the lecture and the colloquium are open to the public. A pre-colloquium tea will be held on the third floor of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building at 3:30 p.m.

The Kieval Lecture Series brings top mathematicians to campus to speak about broad aspects of the discipline that are of interest to undergraduates and the general public. The series was endowed by Harry S. Kieval, HSU professor of mathematics from 1966 to 1979.