Alberta Number Theory Days -- L-functions (10w2162)


(University of Alberta)

(University of Calgary)


The "Alberta Number Theory Days -- L-functions" workshop will be hosted at The Banff International Research Station.

"Number theory" is perhaps a surprising name for a branch of mathematics, since you could be forgiven for thinking that all mathematics was about numbers. In fact, number theorists are those mathematicians who are interested in whole numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Yet how could numbers which appear so simple on face value be of any interest at all? Appearances are as deceptive in mathematics as they can be in real life, since some of the greatest mathematical problems today are about the whole numbers. For example, it was only about fifteen years ago that the three-and-a-half century old Fermat's Last Theorem was finally proven, even though the statement of the theorem can be understood by anyone who knows how to add and multiply two numbers together. This lively and far-reaching mathematical discipline is as useful as it is challenging: Every credit card transaction, every email sent, relies upon number theory to ensure it is transmitted securely. Alberta is home to a number of very active groups of number theorists, but with hours of driving separating them -- Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge -- it can sometimes be hard to discuss ideas. This is why they are planning to come together for a weekend in one place -- Banff -- in order to exchange thoughts, plan projects, and forge links to ensure that Alberta continues to be a leading contributor to number theory.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).