Niels Bohr Lecture and NBIA Colloquium by Julia Collins – Københavns Universitet

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Niels Bohr Lecture and NBIA Colloquium by Julia Collins

A Knot's Tale : Three great men, two smoking boxes, one brilliant wrong idea...

Julia Collins, University of Edinburgh.

I will tell the story of three best friends in 19th century Scotland and their attempt to develop an atomic theory based on knots and links. Tait, Kelvin and Maxwell were inspired by a fantastic experiment involving smoke rings, and their theories, whilst being completely wrong, inspired a new field of mathematical study which is once again becoming important in physics, chemistry and biology.

Tea and coffee will be available outside the lecture room from 11.00.

About Julia Collins:

Born in London to an English father and a Hungarian mother, I studied mathematics at the University of Bath, completing my MMath degree in 2006. In May 2011 I completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Professor Andrew Ranicki. My thesis is in a branch of topology called Knot Theory and is about studying a special class of knots called slice knots which have interesting 4-dimensional properties. I am also passionate about trying to convince as many people as possible about the beauty and amazingness of mathematics, a task which I attempt with the help of my sheep Haggis.

Currently I am the Mathematics Engagement Officer at the University of Edinburgh and do a variety of things, including undergraduate lecturing, public lectures, masterclasses, research engagement, alumni relations and website development.