The Role of Dynamics in Number Theory

Yeshiva University Hosts Lecture by Renowned Mathematician Dr. Hillel Furstenberg

Hillel Furstenberg

On March 30, the Department of Mathematical Sciences hosted Dr. Hillel Furstenberg ’51YUHS ’55YC of Hebrew University  for a discussion titled, “The Role of Dynamics in Number Theory.” Furstenberg, a highly distinguished American-Israeli mathematician, is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the United States National Academy of Sciences. He is a recipient of the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, the Israel Prize for exact sciences and the Harvey Prize from Technion University.

The core of his lecture was to demonstrate how number theory, which is primarily devoted to the study of integers, can be explored via changes in dynamical systems evolving in both time and space. For instance, as he explained, a person wants to investigate what is happening with the temperature in a room not only at a specific moment but also over time. “In order to study that, one would have to study a whole dynamical system of what is happening to the earth and the atmosphere and so on,” and the equations within number theory can be analyzed through a similar approach.

The theory can also be used to explore changes in abstract dynamical systems which do not correspond to nature.

Dr. Marian Gidea, chair of the mathematics department at Stern College for Women, was extremely excited that YU could host the lecture by Furstenberg. “Yeshiva University has a remarkable tradition in mathematics and the sciences,” Gidea noted, “and Professor Furstenberg is an illustrious symbol of this tradition. His visit is significant because it marks a a turning point in mathematics and the sciences at YU, where we have achieved new levels of scholarship and international recognition. We have a great graduate program in mathematics, postdocs from all over the world come to YU to grow professionally, and scientific seminars and colloquia attract top experts.”

Following the lecture, a reception was held in Belfer Hall 1214, where faculty and students discussed highly abstruse equations while enjoying a light lunch.

Furstenberg with group_600
From left to right: Edward Belbruno (YU), Marian Gidea (YU), Svetlana Katok (Penn State), Morton Lowengrub (YU), Hillel Furstenberg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Mrs. Furstenberg, Selma Botman (YU), Mina Teicher (Bar Ilan University), Wenxiong Chen (YU) and Arnold Lebow (YU)