HIGHlights A F R I CA N I NS T IT UT E F O R M AT H E M AT I C AL S C I E N C E S 6 M E L R O S E R OA D | M U I Z E N B E R G | 7 94 5 | CA P E TO WN | S O UT H AF R I C A

December 2011 Inside this issue:

SAMS/AMS joint conference


AIMSSEC nominated for award


Students say farewell


AIMS Research Centre updates


AIMS Journal Club


Mauritius Jedi V workshop


AIMS visitors


DAAD updates


Alumni update


Public Lecture




SAMS/ AMS joint conference

Students have completed the second set of review courses and said farewell to their lecturers, Natacha and Gabriel Lord, Robert Mann, Henry Mwambi and Thomas Achia. Students can now select courses from the following options: Topics in Algebraic Graph Theory (Rob Beezer, Puget Sound), Solitons (Patrick Dorey, Durham), and Topology and Geometry (Tadashi Tokieda, Cambridge). A farewell party was held on Thursday 15 December see page 4.

AIMSSEC nominated for award

Plenary speakers included Professor Daya Reddy (from UCT and an AIMS Council and Board Member) and Professor Peter Sarnak (from the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton who is also an AIMS distinguished Research Fellow). About 350 delegates attended the meeting, among them 16 AIMS Alumni who presented talks.

Barrie Barnard with Professor Therese Tchombe, Najwa Chellan and Professor Khalifa Alsuwaidi.

AIMSSEC has been nominated for the award “UNESCOHamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practise and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers” and was short listed as one of 7 projects selected from 33 countries who have


The 54th annual congress of the South African Mathematical Society was held at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University from 29 November - 3 December 2011. This was the second joint international conference of the South African and American Mathematical Societies.

applied. From 13 - 15 December, Jury Members, Professor Therese Tchombe and Professor Khalifa Alsuwaidi visited AIMSSEC to observe the project on the ground. If AIMSSEC is one of the three successful projects it will receive $90 000.

AIMS donated prizes for the top two Master’s and PhD presentations. These prizes were awarded as follows: Master’s 1. Madelein Basson (University of Pretoria) 2. Ivaljo Donev (University of Cape Town) Doctoral 1. Justin Southey (University of Johannesburg) 2.Samuel Butler (University of Sydney)

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Page 2

AIMS Research Centre updates MSc Defences AIMS Journal Club On Wednesday 14 December , Dephney Mathebula (pictured here with her supervisor Dr Rachid Ouifka and Professor Green) defended her thesis titled: Modelling the transmission dynamics of Multi‐‐ strains Influenza with Vaccination and Antiviral Treatment. On Thursday 15 December 2011, Nomenjanahary Alexia Raharinirina, defended her thesis titled: Multiflagellated bacteria: Stochastic model for run-and-tumble chemotaxis

On Tuesday 6 December, Dr. Hajanirina Natacha Ranariboana (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK) gave a talk entitled: A dual weighted residual method in the study of electromagnetic waves in a periodic grating.

Mauritius JEDI V Workshop

Visitors and new arrivals Yabebal Fantaye arrived on 10 December. He is in the final year of his PhD at SISSA, Trieste, Italy, and is originally from Ethiopia, but did his MSc at UCT under Professor Bassett’s supervision. He is visiting for two months to continue on their work on the large scale structure of the universe and to participate in the Cape Town International Cosmology School in January 2012.

Cosmology group seminars On Monday 5 December Professor Robert Mann, visiting from the University of Waterloo, Canada, taught an "Introduction to Particle Physics" course at AIMS and also gave a seminar in the Research Centre entitled: Gravitational Collapse of K-Essence Matter. The talk was somewhat more cosmological in flavour, describing the gravitational collapse properties of K-essence, a form of dark energy that has been of interest in cosmology over the past decade.


Dr Nima Khosravi arrived on 15 December and is the new cosmology post-doc who will be based at the Research Centre for a year. He works on theories of the early universe such as inflation. He will be a familiar face to many at AIMS, as he visited the cosmology group in early 2011 with his wife. Professor Raghunath Arnab, a professor of Statistics at the University of Botswana visited the Research Centre for the week of 12-16 December 2011. His area of specialization is survey sampling theory.

Student news Mr. Tahirivonizaka Rahantamialisoa Fanirisoa Zazaravak, a Master’s student in the Research Centre has been accepted for a PhD position at Hannover University where he will be supervised by Professor Stefan Tappe. He is expected to start there in April 2012.

School photograph at the conference dinner

The JEDI V conference was the most enriching experience I have had so far." This was the description by Suraj, one of the Mauritian participants of the 5th JEDI workshop coorganised by the cosmology group at AIMS and which took place from 28 October - 2 November 2011 in the south of Mauritius. It was the first time a JEDI school has been held outside South Africa. The JEDI format, first developed in 2008 by the group of Professor Bassett, provides a highly innovative and successful approach to teaching research. There are few talks and instead participants are provided a list of research projects that they choose from. The resulting research groups, which mix students, post-docs and faculty, work on each project intensively during the school

and continue to collaborate on the project after the school has ended, leading to powerful and natural networking and collaboration building as well as papers published in top journals. The school was funded by the International Astronomical Union and the African SKA project and was extremely successful, with a third of the participants female "JEDI was God’s blessing to me and to all the participants who got the chance to revive and personify their love for astrophysics.” (Anistah Udhin). Plans for JEDI 6 in Mauritius in 2012 are well underway and suggestions to hold JEDI meetings in Namibia and Kenya have been received.

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Page 3

AIMS Research Centre updates continued

DAAD updates Staff Development Programme

The Cube of Inference, a 3D cosmology poster, was created by Michelle Knights, a Master’s student in the Research Centre, who created the highly original poster for the recent SKA Conference held in Stellenbosch. Professor Bassett said “What I enjoy about the poster – which Michelle had especially constructed with a solid polystyrene core – is that it is engaging and bridges the gap between normal science material, sculpture and an art installation. People pick it up, interact with it and play.” For more information visit cosmoaims.wordpress.com

AIMS visitors

Mr Razafindrazaka gave his Journal Club talk on Tuesday 13 December 2011

AIMS Alumnus Mr. Faniry Harijaona Razafindrazaka who is registered for a PhD at the Berlin Mathematical School, at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, visited AIMS from 7 to 14 December where he presented a talk to the students about his research. He also gave a talk entitled: Physical Based Smoothing Scheme on Polygons and Applications at the Journal Club Professor John Webb (Department of Maths and Applied Maths at UCT) visited AIMS on 8 December where he gave a talk to the students on the International Mathematics Olympiad


competition and plans for it to be hosted in South in 2014. Professor Paul Vaderlind, University of Stockholm, Sweden one of the founders of the planned Pan-African Centre for Mathematics, a collaborative project between Dares-Salaam University in Tanzania and Stockholm University, visited AIMS from 12-16 December. He visited AIMS to experience our centre firsthand. Associate Professor Vishnu Jejalla recently appointed as a New Research Chair at the University of the Witwatersrand visited Professor Barry Green to discuss involvement in AIMS activities.

Maurice Oduor has just completed his six months visiting research fellowship as part of the DAAD Staff Development Programme. He had this to say about his visit, “I wish to express my wholehearted gratitude to DAAD for having sponsored my visit to AIMS-South Africa. I thank the AIMS community, led by the host, Professor. Barry Green for having provided excellent research facilities and all the other logistics that made this research a success. My visit in general, was successful. I was privileged to interact with a good number of scholars, including but not limited to both resident and visiting researchers, visiting lecturers as well as students. The hearty discussions I had with them created an enabling research environment.” Maurice also attended various seminars and workshops run by AIMS including the Computational

Algebra workshop. He has submitted two research articles, one on the “automorphisms of a certain class of completely primary finite rings” and the other on “the structure of unit groups of certain classes of completely primary finite rings." Scholarships In terms of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)/AIMS agreement AIMS receives the applications for five in-region scholarships. A selection committee meeting was held on Monday 5 December and 10 applicants were shortlisted and recommended to DAAD for considerdation.

Alumni updates Emmanuel Osalusi, who graduated from AIMS in 2004 has now been registered as a Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Marine Scientist (CMarSci) by the UK Science Council, after passing all the qualifying examinations.

“This wouldn't have been possible if AIMS has not given me the necessary foundational training in 2003/2004. I want to thank ALL the AIMS staff for the privilege given to me.”

AIMS students, tutors and visitors had a fun evening of laughter, song and dance at the farewell party held on Thursday 13 December.

[email protected]


Page 4

Science out Loud Public Lecture

On Tuesday 13 December, AIMS and the Cape Town Science Centre’s Science Out Loud presented a talk by Professor Eugene Cloete, Dean: Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University. The talk was titled “Achieving the extraordinary with ordinary people. Does a high IQ equal success?” He discussed what makes individuals successful by broadening and developing the notion of different types of intelligence and looking at

the role living with a positive attitude has. “There is immense power in positive expectations. If you constantly raise the expectation you have for other people, they believe it so much they exceed it, especially young people.” He discussed information focus syndrome, “We live with the illusion that more information can help us make good decisions, but this is not always true, too much information can limit you if you do not know it.”

Announcements AIMS call for Diploma Essay Topic Proposals AIMS-South Africa has a large group of enthusiastic and talented students currently completing its Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences. The Diploma includes anessay phase, and lecturers and researchers who are willing to supervise students are invited to propose suitable essay topics. The closing date for submission is 14 February 2012 and topics will be made known to the students on the 15th February 2012. Further information and the online proposal form can be found at: http://www.aims.ac.za/en/apply/essay-proposals January intake for Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences: AIMS-South Africa is pleased to announce a second stream of its successful Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) Programme to start in January 2012, so as to be more attractive to South African students following the usual academic calendar. It is intended that this intake will include a small group of prospective mathematics and science teachers, an area of dire need in South Africa. Late applications are still being considered. For more information please visit http://www.aims.ac.za/en/apply/postgraduate-diploma


August intake for Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences Applications for the programme commencing in August 2012 at AIMS-South Africa, AIMS-Ghana and AIMS-Senegal are now open. Applicants are asked to indicate whether they wish to attend AIMS-South Africa, AIMS-Ghana or AIMS-Senegal in the application process. For more information please visit http://www.aims.ac.za/en/apply/postgraduate-diploma Summer School in Mathematical Finance The fifth Summer School in Mathematical Finance to be held at AIMS from 16 to 18 February 2012, will once again bring several leading academic exponents of the fastgrowing field of Mathematical Finance to South Africa. It presents a unique opportunity for local practitioners, academics and students to interact with international leaders in research on topics and modelling techniques current in the South African and international financial markets. Mathematical modelling in finance is one of the focus areas of the AIMS Research Centre which is hosting the Summer School. Fees will be waived, upon application, for bona-fide full-time students at South African universities. Registration fees include lunches and refreshments during the duration of the Summer School. Applications will be treated on a first come, first served basis, and numbers are limited. For more information and to apply please visit http://www.aims.ac.za/en/programmes/workshopsconferences/mathematical-finance-2012 AIMS Public Lecture The Cosmology Group at AIMS presents a talk by Professor Robert Nichol, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth The Accelerating Universe: Story of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics Abstract: In 1999, two groups of astronomers made a remarkable discovery; the expansion of the Universe was accelerating not slowing as expected. In just over a decade, this amazing observation has been comprehensively confirmed and is now reward with a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011. But why is the Universe accelerating? The answer to that question remains elusive but has fuelled the imagination of thousands of scientists across the globe. In this talk, I will give a lighthearted summary of the science behind the discovery of the accelerating Universe and review my (small) part in confirming this phenomenon. I will conclude with speculation about what could be causing all this fuss. Date: Sunday 22 January 2012 Time: 18:45 for 19:00 Venue: Muizenberg Pavilion Cost: School groups and students free, Adults R20 Limited places available please email [email protected] to book you seat

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AIMS_Newsletter December 2011.pdf

Page 2 of 4. AIMS Research Centre updates ... of Mathematics and Statis- tics, University of Strath- clyde, Glasgow, Scotland,. UK) gave ... Science Council, after.

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