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Stephanie van Willigenburg

University of British Columbia

Stephanie van Willigenburg is a Professor of Mathematics at UBC. Her awards for research include winning the Krieger-Nelson Prize in 2017 from the Canadian Mathematical Society, and the Robbins Prize in 2023 from the Mathematical Association of America, both for outstanding research, and she was also inducted as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2023.

She has won a Killam Award for her teaching, and given numerous plenary lectures, including an Invited Address at the Joint Mathematics Meeting, the largest mathematics conference in the world.

Stephanie is currently the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Science at UBC, and is one of the co-founders of the Algebraic Combinatorics Research Community to foster mentoring, research collaborations and networking for minorities in her area of algebraic combinatorics and related areas.

De-clawing graph theory

Sunday,  June 2, 2024 | 11am - 12pm

This talk requires no prior knowledge and will be a gentle introduction to colouring graphs. It will be suitable for a broad audience including undergraduates. We will start with some historical tales, including the four colour map problem and the chromatic polynomial. We will then meet the chromatic symmetric function, dating from 1995, which is a generalization of the chromatic polynomial. A famed conjecture on it, called the Stanley-Stembridge (3+1)-free conjecture, has been the focus of much research lately including resolving another problem of Stanley of whether the (3+1)-free conjecture can be widened. The resulting paper on the latter problem was recently awarded the 2023 David P. Robbins Prize, and we will hear this story too.

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