Congratulations to Colin Little for passing his PhD viva on Friday 1st March.  The title of his PhD thesis is “Deterministic driven random walks in a random environment“, and the project was supervised by Ian Melbourne.  The external examiner was Mark Holland (Exeter University) and the internal examiner was Claudia Wulff.

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Michelle Grant started as PhD student at Surrey in January 2013. Her project will focus on data assimilation in systems with multiple scales under the supervision of Anne Skeldon and Ian Roulstone.

Michelle graduated with a mathematics degree from Edinburgh University in 2000 and moved into the financial sector, predominantly employed in Corporate Treasury roles.  This has encompassed interest rate risk management, own-asset securitisation, and a considerable amount of risk modelling at RBS Group Treasury, Lloyds Corporate Markets and Santander Global Banking and Markets.

Her PhD project is linked to the inter-departmental Evolution and Resilience of Industrial Ecosystems (ERIE) project, and Michelle is based with the ERIE team, where she hopes to be able to apply data assimilation methods to some of the case study models being developed within the ERIE project

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Kostas Sfetsos is visited Imperial College on Wednesday 27 February to give a talk in the London Triangle String Theory Seminar series.  The title of his talk is “Non-abelian T-duality in supergravity and the AdS/CFT correspondence” with abstract as follows.  The notion of T-duality in supergravity backgrounds with non-Abelian isometries and non-vanishing RR fluxes will be explained. The talk will then focus on type-II backgrounds on which the duality action preserves supersymmetry. For the case of D3-branes at the tip of the conifold dualising along an SU(2) isometry provides a type-IIA background with M-theory lift is of the type describing duals to certain N=1 SCFT quivers produced by M5-branes wrapping a Riemann surface. In the non-conformal cases we find smooth duals in massive IIA supergravity with a Romans mass naturally quantized.  The interpretation of these geometries in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence is initiated and the fate of various charges under dualisation is discussed. The backgrounds suggest a form of Seiberg duality in the dual field theories which also exhibit domain walls and confinement in the infrared.

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Tom Bridges gave at talk in the Dynamical Systems Seminar at Imperial College on Thursday 28 February.  The title of the talk is “How modulation generates geometry in dynamical systems and nonlinear waves“.  An abstract of the talk follows.  The backbone of the talk is “modulation”; specifically what to modulate and how modulation generates geometry.  The talk is based on three examples.  (1D modulation) how modulation gives a new viewpoint on elementary homoclinic bifurcation with curvature of modulation determining the coefficient of the nonlinear term.  (2D modulation) the mythical origins of the KdV equation are given a new perspective, resulting in a universal form for emergence and how geometry of modulation determines the coefficients, and a dynamical systems argument determines the dispersion. Considering that the classical derivation of KdV is about the trivial solution, a by-product of the result is how to modulate the trivial solution!  (3D modulation) The third example will show how modulation of periodic solutions leads to a sequence of multi-pulse planforms in PDEs like the Swift-Hohenberg equation.  This theory is deduced by deriving a new modulation equation in two space dimensions and time.

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