Dan Margalit to Give AMS Maryam Mirzakhani Invited Address at JMM 2022

November 11, 2021 |

Prof. Dan Margalit will give an invited lecture at the AMS Special Session AMS Maryam Mirzakhani Lecture at the Joint Math Meetings (JMM), in April 2022.

The Maryam Mirzakhani Lectures

The AMS Council established this Lecture in 2018 to honor Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017), the first woman and the first Iranian to win a Fields Medal.  Mirzakhani was a professor at Stanford University and a highly original mathematician who made a host of striking and influential contributions to hyperbolic geometry, complex analysis, topology, and dynamics.

Title: AMS Maryam Mirzakhani Lecture - Dan Margalit, Georgia Institute of Technology

Date: Thursday April 7, 2022, 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.

Abstract: Taffy pullers, lab stirrers, and paint mixers are complicated dynamical systems. To any such system we can ascribe a real number, called the entropy, which describes the amount of mixing being achieved. Which real numbers arise, and what do they say about the dynamics of the system? We will explore this question through the lens of topological surfaces, making unexpected connections to algebra and number theory. Our tour will take us from the work of Max Dehn and Jakob Nielsen a century ago, to the revelations of the Fields medalist William Thurston in the 1970s, to the breakthroughs of Fields medalist Maryam Mirzakhani in the 21st century.

Moderator: Ruth Charney (Brandeis University)
Organizer: Georgia Benkart (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Dan Margalit, Georgia Tech University dmargalit7@gatech.edu

For more details see the JMM AMS Special Session website:



About Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her research topics included Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.[3] In 2005, as a result of her research, she was honored in Popular Science's fourth annual "Brilliant 10" in which she was acknowledged as one of the top 10 young minds who have pushed their fields in innovative directions.

On 13 August 2014, Mirzakhani was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, becoming the first Iranian to be honored with the award[15] and the only woman to date. The award committee cited her work in "the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".

On 14 July 2017, Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40.


An Excerpt From the Talk

I'd like to tell one story about my personal interaction with Maryam.  She invited me to give a seminar talk at Stanford.  I didn't know she was already sick.  Still she came in an hour before the seminar to discuss my work.  She sat down next to the board, pen and paper ready to go.  We both quickly realized that I couldn't answer her questions in the depth that she wanted.  I saw her slowly put down her pen and her pad.  She shifted gears and steered the conversation to things I knew a little better, and when I gave the talk she was smiling the whole time and full of enthusiastic comments.  Given the situation, her positivity was such a generous act of grace, and I will always appreciate her for that.

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Sal Barone