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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

SU hosts commutative algebra, algebraic geometry conference Oct. 19

Annual conference features presenters from North America, Europe, Asia, and India

Oct. 7, 2013, by Rob Enslin

Graham Leuschke
Graham Leuschke

More than two dozen mathematicians from New York State and Ontario will converge at Syracuse University for the 23rd annual “Route 81 Conference on Commutative Algebra and Algebraic Geometry.”

The conference, which is attended primarily by mathematicians from SU, Cornell University, and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (Canada), is Saturday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in room 122 of SU’s Carnegie Library. It is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

While the presentations are free and open to the public, related social activities, such as dinner at China Road (2204 Brewerton Rd., Syracuse), cost money. Also, discounted lodging is available at Crown Plaza Syracuse (701 East Genesee St., Syracuse). For more information, contact Graham Leuschke, associate professor of mathematics, at 315-443-1500 or, or visit

“The conference rotates every year among Syracuse, Cornell, and Queen’s universities and is designed to strengthen ties among commutative algebraists and algebraic geometers in the region,” says Leuschke, whose expertise spans commutative algebra, non-commutative algebraic geometry, algebraic geometry, and representation theory. “The event also showcases young researchers who are on the academic job market.”

Leuschke says this year’s conference is more international than before, given the number of presenters from outside North America. They include Hara Charalambous, professor of mathematics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece); Tony J. Puthenpurakal, associate professor of mathematics at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay; and Afshan Sadiq, assistant professor of mathematics at Superior University Lahore (Pakistan).

Presenters closer to home include Anna Bertiger, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at the University of Waterloo (Canada); Eleonore Faber, the Erwin-Schroedinger Fellow in Mathematics at the University of Toronto (Canada); Kuei-Nuan Lin, visiting assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Smith College; and Branden Stone, visiting assistant professor of mathematics at Bard College.

Why commutative algebra and algebraic geometry?

Leuschke says that while both branches fall under the heading of “pure mathematics,” they have applications for a variety of areas, including astronomy, physics, economics, and engineering.

“Commutative algebra studies ‘commutative rings,’ which are places where you can both add and multiple, and the operations are commutative,” says Leuschke, using 2 X 5 and 5 X 2 as an example. “In turn, algebraic geometry studies solutions to systems of polynomial equations. … Algebraic geometry and commutative algebra are interrelated, since many geometric questions can be translated into algebraic ones and vice versa.”

In addition to Leuschke, the conference is organized by Claudia Miller, professor of mathematics, and Steven Diaz, associate professor of mathematics, also experts at SU in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry.

“Anyone is welcome to attend the conference, but some of the talks will be quite technical,” Leuschke adds.

One of The College’s oldest and largest academic units, the Department of Mathematics is home to more than 30 faculty members whose research includes mathematics, statistics, and mathematics education. The department offers nearly a dozen graduate and undergraduate degree programs and is committed to promoting mathematics appreciation in secondary schools and throughout the community.