Monday, October 7, 2013


Dr. Ursula Whitcher recently participated in a number of research workshops and conferences and will continue to do so during the fall semester. Whitcher, along with Charles Doran (University of Alberta) and Adriana Salerno (Bates College) organized a focused research group workshop titled "Effective Computations in Arithmetic Mirror Symmetry" at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in March 2013. BIRS funded eight participants, including Whitcher's group, for a week working on problems at the intersection of number theory and physics. As part of the workshop, Whitcher gave a talk titled "Zeta functions and multiple mirrors."

This fall, the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto held a thematic program on "Calabi-Yau Varieties: Arithmetic, Geometry and Physics." The program combined introductory lectures aimed at graduate students with a series of research conferences. Whitcher was invited to the introductory workshop on Calabi-Yau Varieties Aug.  26-30, where she gave two talks, "Classical Mirror Constructions I: Greene-Plesser Mirror Symmetry" and "Classical Mirror Constructions II: Batyrev-Borisov Mirror Symmetry." Whitcher returned to the Fields Institute Sept. 10-17, where she gave a talk titled "Introduction to K3 surfaces" at the Concentrated Graduate Course on Modular Forms, and then a research talk on results from the project started in Banff, "Mirror quartics, discrete symmetries, and the congruent Zeta function," in the Modular Forms Around String Theory conference.

Whitcher also recently returned from a trip to the new Clay Math Institute headquarters at Oxford University in England. She participated in a workshop titled "Computational Number Theory, Geometry and Physics (Sage Days 53)," which ran from Sept. 23-29. Salerno and Whitcher gave a talk titled "Zeta functions, point counting, and mirror symmetry," and Whitcher gave an additional talk on "Classical mirror constructions." Whitcher and Salerno also worked on developing code for the Sage software focused on problems in number theory and physics.

Whitcher also was invited to participate in a research workshop called "Women in Numbers-Europe (WINE)," which will run from Oct. 14-18 at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques (CIRM) in Marseille, France.  She will be part of a working group on elliptic fibrations of K3 surfaces led by Marie-José Bertin and Odile Lecacheux.

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