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International scholars hosted at math summer school

Alberto Elduque, mathematician of the University of Zaragoza.

By Kelly Foss

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics will soon play host to the 11th annual summer school of the Atlantic Association for Research in Mathematical Sciences (AARMS).

The summer school is intended for graduate students and promising undergraduate students from Canada and around the world. It takes place every summer in an Atlantic Canadian university, this year at the St. John's campus of Memorial University, from July 16-Aug. 10. Four courses are being offered, with each participant normally expected to register for two.

"I think this will be the biggest year ever if all the students who have expressed an interest in attending actually show up," said the summer school's co-organizer, Dr. Mikhail Kotchetov, associate professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics. "At the moment the people signed up for the summer school are primarily from outside of Memorial University and I'm still trying to attract more local students."

The four courses being offered this year focus on algebra and combinatorics and are all at the graduate level. Organizers are working with the Office of the Registrar to ensure local students will get full credit for completing them. Dr. Kotchetov says that, in addition to math students, the summer school would also be of interest to physics and computer science students at Memorial.

The courses are Combinatorial Designs and Graph Decompositions, presented by Darryn Bryant, University of Queensland; The Probabilistic Method and Random Graphs by Pawel Pralat, Ryerson University; Hopf Algebras and Applications by Nicolas Andruskiewitsch, Univeristy of Cordoba and Leandro Vendramin, University of Buenos Aires; and Lie Theory by Alberto Elduque, University of Zaragoza.

"There will be an hour and a half of instruction every day per course, and with most students doing two courses that's three hours of instruction every day," said Dr. Kotchetov. "It's a great opportunity to speak with world class researchers and find out what opportunities there are abroad, as well as an opportunity to showcase Memorial."

Complementary to the AARMS summer school, the organizers have also scheduled a public lecture midway through the four-week school.

Alberto Elduque will speak on Conway's rational tangles, which applies basic mathematic principles to tangling and untangling ropes. Mathematician John Conway noticed that one could assign a common fraction like 3/4 or infinity in a unique way to each rational tangle. During the lecture, Prof. Elduque will play with rational tangles and devise an algorithm to unknot any given tangle, or to get the rational tangle corresponding to any given common fraction.

Prof. Elduque's research focuses on non-associative algebras, with a stress on composition algebras and their interactions with Lie algebras and superalgebras. He has authored and coauthored more than 100 papers and is an editor of Communications in Algebra and of Journal of Algebra.

His lecture will take place Thursday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Innovation Hall, Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, with a reception to follow.

It's not too late for local students to register for the summer school. Contact Mikhail Kotchetov at or David Pike at or visit