Entrance hall of the ICMSPositivity in algebraic and complex geometry Workshop

In April 2017, ICMS hosted a workshop on Positivity in algebraic and complex geometry

The workshop focussed on notions of positivity for line bundles and vector bundles of higher rank, with applications to moduli theory.

This workshop was very busy with over 20 presentations.  Delegates came from across the globe, (Korea, Switzerland, US, Korea, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, China and the UK)

Delegates from the positivity in algebraic and complex geometry workshop in the Newhaven lecture theatre, April 2017

Whilst the workshop was on, we took the opportunity to speak to one of the delegates in a bit more detail.


Brian Lehman, Boston College

Brian is a Mathematics Professor at Boston College.  His field of research interest is Algebraic Geometry.

Tell me about today's event and your role in it

I was invited to speak at the workshop.  I was aware of the work of most of the people here.  I have heard of lots of the European researchers, but being from US, I haven’t had the chance to meet a lot of them up to now.

What brought you to this area of research?

As a graduate student, I liked Algebra.  I took a number of classes and this area stood out.  I like the breadth it covers and it, Algebraic Geometry, unifies so many different areas of maths.

Other than exploring maths, what are the benefits of taking part?     

Meeting people.  I have got to know the community better.  I have started new, and continued existing, collaborations.  It is a great opportunity to see what others are doing

What will you take back to your [day job/research/studies]?

The talks have motivated me to learn more about certain areas, and to continue the collaborations that have happened here.

Have you met interesting people, and if so, what connections have you made?

Yes, I’ve met people whose work I was aware of but I’ve never had the chance to meet.  It has been exciting to do so.

Do you have any advice for first-time ICMS attendees? 

This is my first time at ICMS.  Make sure you make good use of the opportunity.  Talk to new people; speak to those you do not know.

Have you been to many other conferences? How does ICMS differ?

I attend lots.  ICMS is not categorically different, but a bit more focused.  All the talks have been close to a central theme.  It’s been a real chance for experts to learn.  With the workshop being a week long, it has made it a richer experience.

If you could solve one maths problem, what would it be?

Right now, I’m really interested in Bloch's Conjecture for surfaces1.  It connects 2 very different areas of maths and is a very beautiful conjecture.

Do you have any thoughts regarding how we can raise the profile of maths?

The best way is through education, raising the quality for all and giving adults a chance to return to maths.  If we can help people get a handle on what we do, it will demystify the subject.

Do you have any thought on how diversity in mathematics can be improved?

Efforts need to start early and focus on young people.  People make career choices early, so making mathematics appear a credible option for high school/college students is key.

Who is your favourite mathematician and why?

I admire the work of Yujiro Kawamata.  His work is original and creative, and he has solved many interesting problems.


(Ref 1:   Hodge Theory and Complex Algebraic Geometry, Volume 2" by Claire Voisin, Chapter 11)