Welcome to LGBTQ+Math Day, 2021. The event is aimed at LGBTQ+ mathematicians, students, and post-docs in the mathematical sciences, and their allies. Building on the success of the inaugural LGBTQ+Math Day, 2020, which reached the maximum 500 registrations, the day will be hosted on-line by the Fields Institute on November 18, which is LGBTQ+ STEM Day. The event is free and you can register for the event.

The day will showcase state-of-the-art mathematics conducted by LGBTQ+ mathematicians, presented in an accessible way to non-specialists. Speakers will also describe their journey navigating their academic careers as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Participants will come away inspired and learn strategies for building meaningful allyships with members of the LGBTQ+ community in mathematics.

Speakers & Panel

We will have four speakers followed by a panel. Talks are a half hour with time afterwards for questions, and begin at 1 pm EST/EDT. The panel discussion is 45 minutes and begins at 4 pm.

The schedule of talks is:

Opening remarks

Mohamed Omar, 1 - 1:30 pm

Becca Thomases, 1:45 - 2:15 pm

Seppo Niemi-Colvin, 2:30 - 3 pm

Amanda Folsom, 3:15 - 3:45 pm

Panel discussion: 4 - 4:45 pm

Speakers and abstracts

Amanda Folsom

Biography: Amanda Folsom is Professor of Mathematics and Department Chair at Amherst College, and specializes in number theory, on modular forms, harmonic Maass forms, and applications to combinatorics and other areas. She hails from the north shore of Boston, and received undergraduate and doctoral mathematics degrees from the University of Chicago and UCLA, respectively. Beyond Amherst, Amanda has held assorted positions at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale University, and the Institute for Advanced Study Princeton. Amanda believes in the visibility of LGBTQ+ mathematicians like herself. She is a member of Spectra, was a Joint Mathematics Meetings AWM panelist on Queer Families and Mathematical Careers, and has given numerous research talks including some at LGBTQ+ mathematics conferences. Some of Amanda's additional outreach involves research with undergraduates and women in mathematics, including her work as a research project leader with the Women in Numbers program.

Title: Symmetry, almost

Abstract: Some definitions of the word symmetry include "correct or pleasing proportion of the parts of a thing," "balanced proportions," and "the property of remaining invariant under certain changes, as of orientation in space." One might think of snowflakes, butterflies, and our own faces as naturally symmetric objects - or at least close to it. Mathematically one can also conjure up many symmetric objects: even and odd functions, fractals, certain matrices, and modular forms, a type of symmetric complex function. All of these things, mathematical or natural, arguably exhibit a kind of beauty in their symmetries, so would they lose some of their innate beauty if their symmetries were altered? Alternatively, could some measure of beauty be gained with some symmetric imperfections? In this talk, we will explore these questions guided by the topic of modular forms and their variants. What can be gained by perturbing modular symmetries in particular?

Seppo Niemi-Colvin

Biography: Seppo Niemi-Colvin is a fifth-year Ph.D. student at Duke University studying low dimensional topology under Adam Levine, particularly focusing on knots in three-manifolds other than the three-sphere. Seppo grew up in Raleigh, NC before attending Bryn Mawr College for undergrad, where he realized he is not a girl. After his first year of grad school, he realized that not only isn't he a girl, but he is specifically a queer man. In addition to mathematics, Seppo also enjoys visual arts, and during the summer of 2020 took a class on landscape painting.

Title: Square Pegs and Round Holes
Abstract: This talk will provide an introduction to lattice homology, an algebraic structure used to study specific three-manifolds; that is, spaces that when you zoom in look like three-dimensional space. Lattice homology is constructed by looking at the failure of a specific integer lattice to (topologically) approximate a family of ellipsoids. At the end, I will bounce off of these ideas to discuss the problems arising from having to interact with institutions that were not built with your needs in mind.

Mohamed Omar

Biography: Mohamed Omar is an associate professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and Joseph B. Platt Chair. His research focuses on discrete math with a particular interest in applications of linear and nonlinear algebra in the field. He came to Harvey Mudd after a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech, a PhD at the University of California at Davis, and undergrad and Master's degrees at the University of Waterloo.

Title: Chicken McNuggets

Abstract: Chicken McNuggets used to come in 9 and 20 packs. It turns out that for any N greater than 151, you can find a way to buy exactly N McNuggets using 9 and 20 packs, but one can't buy exactly 151 McNuggets in this way. What if we generalized 9 and 20 to a set of integers n1,n2, ... ,nk instead, and asked for the numbers that can be achieved as positive integer combinations of them? Questions like this have rich answers that surprisingly lie at the confluence of fourier analysis, algebraic combinatorics, and numerical semigroups.


Becca Thomases

Biography: Dr. Becca Thomases (she/her) is a full Professor and the Vice Chair for graduate matters in Mathematics at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Thomases uses tools from analysis and numerical simulations to study fluid dynamics in complex (or non-Newtonian) fluids. Recently she has been looking at how micro-organisms such as sperm and other flagellated organisms move in mucus and other sticky, gooey environments. In addition to research Dr. Thomases spends a lot of time working on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in graduate and undergraduate education. She led an initiative to introduce undergraduate learning assistants in calculus discussion sections to facilitate active learning environments. She also modernized the Teaching Assistant training course at UC Davis to incorporate lesson plans that specifically address topics such as understanding the role of diversity in classrooms, and developing concrete strategies for building inclusive classrooms.

Title: How to swim through goo

Abstract: Non-Newtonian or complex fluids describe a wide class of materials from biological fluids like mucus and blood to everyday household products like shampoo and paint. There are many problems in physics and biology where understanding motion of (or in) complex fluids is essential for understanding natural phenomena. Tools from mathematical analysis and computational simulations can shed light on these complex problems that are significant in many biological, environmental, and industrial applications. I will describe some recent work on modeling micro-organism swimming in viscoelastic fluids, and understanding the mechanisms that lead to speed changes in complex fluids.


Catherine Cannizzo

Biography: Catherine Cannizzo (she/her) is a postdoc at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics and earned her PhD from UC Berkeley. Her interests include symplectic geometry, homological mirror symmetry, and Fukaya categories of Landau-Ginzburg models. While at Berkeley she served as the webmaster for the women-in-math group Noetherian Ring and now co-organizes the Western Hemisphere Virtual Symplectic Seminar, and a reading group in Symplectic Group Action centered around Black Lives Matter. She came out as a lesbian during graduate school and hopes to pay forward gratitude for those who paved the way before her. She enjoys dancing ballet and drawing digital art.

Tyler Kelly

Biography: Tyler Kelly (they/he) is an assistant professor and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Before, Tyler obtained their PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and then held an NSF Postdoc at Cambridge. Tyler's research is in algebraic geometry and mirror symmetry, studying the mirror symmetry of Landau-Ginzburg models. They also are active in the LGBTQ+ STEM community, as a member of both the LGBTQ STEM Project's Steering Committee and the London Mathematical Society's Women and Diversity in Mathematics Committee.

Evelyn Lamb

Biography: Evelyn Lamb (she/her) is a freelance math and science writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her Ph.D. in math from Rice University in May 2012, and was a postdoc at the University of Utah from 2013-2015. Her writing appeared in a number of media outlets such as Scientific American and Quanta Magazine. Her AMS Page a Day Calendar was published by the American Mathematical Society, and she is co-host of the podcast My Favorite Theorem.

Andrés R. Vindas Meléndez

Biography: Andrés R. Vindas Meléndez (He/They) is a queer, chronically ill, Costa Rican-American mathematician. Andrés was raised in Lynwood, South East Los Angeles, California and is a first-generation college graduate. Currently, Andrés is a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley and a Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. Andrés completed his PhD at the University of Kentucky, where he was also an affiliated graduate student in the Latin American Studies program and earned a graduate certificate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino/a Studies. Before that, Andrés earned a master's degree in mathematics at San Francisco State University and an undergraduate degree in mathematics at UC Berkeley where he also minored in Philosophy and Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies. Andrés' research interests are in algebraic and geometric combinatorics.

Katrin Wehrheim

Biography: Katrin Wehrheim (they/them) is an anti-fascist revolutionary by calling and a global analyst by training. Applying this training to questions in low-dimensional topology and symplectic geometry - while appeasing the power structure with women-in-math outreach activities rather than addressing the real problems - led them to hold positions at ETH Zurich, Princeton University, IAS Princeton, MIT, and UC Berkeley. After gaining tenure, despite losing the battle for proofs in symplectic geometry, their main learning-and-doing has been on matters of fascism, racial capitalism, genocide accountability, reparations, and justice at large. More recently their identities are combining into attempts to "teach mathematics to counter oppression."


Talks and the panel will be hosted online by the Fields Institute. A schedule is available under the header Speakers & Panel. Register here.


Chairs: Anthony Bonato (Ryerson University), Juliette Bruce (University of California, Berkeley), Ron Buckmire (Occidental College)

Sponsor: The Fields Institute

Code of Conduct

LGBTQ+Math Day aims to create an inclusive and memorable conference experience for all attendees.

We do not tolerate harassment of attendees, staff, speakers, or panelists in any way at any time. We are dedicated to a harassment-free environment for all participants regardless of gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion. All participants should behave in a constructive, positive, and professional manner at all times during the conference. Sexual, racist, and discriminatory speech will not be tolerated.

Participants should contact one of the co-chairs if they experience discrimination, harassment, or need help/support in other ways. We reserve the right to remove participants from the current and any future events if they violate these guidelines.

Thank you for helping make LGBTQ+Math Day a friendly, welcoming, and inclusive event.



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