2014 Edwin E. Floyd Prize in Mathematics was given to Colin McKinon Parker. The prize is awarded to second- or third-year students who show exceptional promise in mathematics.

Mathematics majors Dylan Ellis Weber and Matthew Hamilton Peck have been elected into Phi Beta Kappa.

As the oldest and most distinguished honor society in the country, Phi Beta Kappa offers membership to less than one percent of all undergraduates. Many of the leading figures in American history and culture have begun their careers with election to the society, including seventeen presidents of the United States. As a result, membership is a remarkable accomplishment, both for the student who achieves it and the faculty and staff whose support and guidance has led to this milestone.

The conference, Harmonic Analysis and the Renormalization Group, will take place April 18-21, 2014 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Conference websiteScott Atkinson is the recipient of this year's Department of Mathematics Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Scott will now be nominated for the University-wide teaching award.

Additionally, Nathaniel Pappas, Joshua Parks, and Joshua Schwartz have been recognized with Honorable Mentions for their teaching achievements.

Congratulations to all of these teaching assistants.

George Dyson, author of the New York Times bestseller, "Turing's Cathedral," will speak on "From Analog to Digital and Back: The View from 1946." The talke will be in Nau Hall 101 at 5:00 pm on April 9th. Sponsored by the Departments of Mathematics, Computer Science, and History. Organizer: David Sherman (434)924-7079. [Poster]

**Vaughan Jones (Vanderbilt University)**

**Lecture 1: ** Knots and Groups

Date: Monday April 6, 2015

Time: 4:00-5:00 pm

Location: Clark Hall 108

Abstract: Knots are among the more concrete features in the mathematical landscape. Groups are more pervasive and more abstract. But the two subjects have been intimately connected since the early days of the study of both. After defining knots and groups we will give the first such connection-the “fundamental group” of the knot. This group is known to determine the knot but a construction is not immediate. The braid group is a concrete group with some structural resemblance to knots. We will show how all knots arise from elements of the braid group and how to learn things about the knot from its braid. In particular a family of “knot polynomials” appears from this study.

**Lecture 2:** Von Neumann Algebra and Physics

Date; Tuesday April 7, 2015

Time: 5:00-6:00 pm

Location: Clark 108

Abstract: The states of a quantum system are given by vectors in a Hilbert space with inner product < ξ, η >. Observables are self-adjoint operators on that Hilbert space. The fundamental formula connecting the two is that if a is an operator/observable and ξ; is a unit vector/state then < aξ, ξ > is a real number giving the average value of repeated measurements of the observable a if the system is prepared each time in the state ξ. Von Neumann introduced the algebras that bear his name in large part to help understand the mathematical structure of quantum theory. His prophetic ideas have been very fruitful in low dimensional quantum field theory and are intimately related to the knot polynomials of the first lecture.

**Lecture 3:** Do all Subfactors arise in Conformal Field Theory?

Date: Wednesday April 8, 2015

Time: 4:00-5:00 pm

Location: Monroe 130

Abstract: A subfactor is a pair of von Neumann algebras with trivial center (factors) one included in the other. A subfactor N ⊂ M has an index [M : N] which is a real number defined by von Neumann’s theory. For the most obvious examples of factors [M : N] is actually an integer but in fact it can be any number in the set {4(cos(π/n))2 : n = 3, 4, 5, 6, ...} ∪ [4, ∞]. Subfactors realising these values can be constructed from algebras of observables as in the second lecture. It is an open and intriguing question whether or not ALL subfactors (of finite index) can be obtained from quantum field theory. An attempt to take a continuum limit from the data of a subfactor has led to a new construction of knots and links from certain groups of homeomorphisms of the unit interval known as the Thompson groups.

The first issue of the Department's newsletter* Virginia Math Bulletin* is now available.

Congratulations to Ben Webster who won the Alfred B. Sloan Research Foundation Fellowship for 2014. See articles in the *New York Times *and *UVa Today. * www.sloan.org/sloan-research-fellowships

The Mathematics Department Diploma Ceremony will be held May 18, 2014 (from 12:30-2:30pm) in the Lower Garden of Pavilion I. The inclement weather location is Gilmer Hall, Room 130 at 1:00pm. For information regarding the graduation on the Lawn, see www.virginia.edu/finals.

Assistant Professor, Tai Melcher, will receive the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Service Award at a ceremony in January. This award recognizes individuals for helping to promote and support women in mathematics through exceptional voluntary service to the Association for Women in Mathematics. Tai was cited both for her service to the AWM as a PI on a successful NSF grant, and for her involvement in the organization of AWM activities at the USASEF festival.