Claudia Polini, the Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C Professor of Mathematics, directs the Center for Mathematics at Notre Dame that among other things gathers mathematicians from around the country to focus on leading-edge topics in the field. This year, the Center hosted a Thematic Program on Topology and Field Theories program that includes a week for undergraduates, a week for graduate and postdoctoral students and another week for a conference.
The undergraduate week brought 28 students from different universities to study knot theory, hearing lectures and working in open-ended problem sessions. The “Summer School in Topology and Field Theories” brought some 50 graduate students and post-doctoral associates for lectures and discussion on the topic that involves translating physics ideas into mathematical terms. Some participants stayed for the Focused Research Group Conference on Topology and Field Theories that gathered international researchers in the emerging field. The conference concluded a four-year FRG initiative sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Polini, whose own research focuses on commutative algebra with secondary interests in computational algebra, homological algebra and algebraic geometry, joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2001. She has received numerous research and conference grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency.