Course image MA2K3:Consolidation 2020/21
Course image MA3A6:Algebraic Number Theory 2020/21
Course image MA3B8:Complex Analysis 2020/21
Course image MA3D1:Fluid Dynamics 2020/21
Course image MA3D4:Fractal Geometry 2020/21
Course image MA3D5:Galois Theory 2020/21
Course image MA3D9:Geometry of Curves & Surfaces 2020/21
Course image MA3E1:Groups & Representations 2020/21
Course image MA3F1:Introduction to Topology 2020/21
Course image MA3G1:Theory of Partial Differential Equations 2020/21

The important and pervasive role played by pdes in both pure and applied mathematics is described in MA250 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations. In this module I will introduce methods for solving (or at least establishing the existence of a solution!) various types of pdes. Unlike odes, the domain on which a pde is to be solved plays an important role. In the second year course MA250, most pdes were solved on domains with symmetry (eg round disk or square) by using special methods (like separation of variables) which are not applicable on general domains. You will see in this module the essential role that much of the analysis you have been taught in the first two years plays in the general theory of pdes. You will also see how advanced topics in analysis, such as MA3G7 Functional Analysis I, grew out of an abstract formulation of pdes. Topics in this module include:

  • Method of characteristics for first order PDEs.

  • Fundamental solution of Laplace equation, Green's function.

  • Harmonic functions and their properties, including compactness and regularity.

  • Comparison and maximum principles.

  • The Gaussian heat kernel, diffusion equations.

  • Basics of wave equation (time permitting).

Course image MA3G6:Commutative Algebra 2020/21
Course image MA3G7:Functional Analysis I 2020/21
Course image MA3G8:Functional Analysis II 2020/21
Course image MA3H0:Numerical Analysis & PDE's 2020/21
Course image MA3H2:Markov Processes and Percolation Theory 2020/21
Course image MA3H3:Set Theory 2020/21
Course image MA3H5:Manifolds 2020/21

The course will start by introducing the concept of a manifold (without recourse to an embedding into an ambient space). In the words of Hermann Weyl (Space, Time, Matter, paragraph 11):

“The characteristic of an n-dimensional manifold is that each of the elements composing it (in our examples, single points, conditions of a gas, colours, tones) may be specified by the giving of n quantities, the “co-ordinates,” which are continuous functions within the manifold. This does not mean that the whole manifold with all its elements must be represented in a single and reversible manner by value systems of n co-ordinates (e.g. this is impossible in the case of the sphere, for which n = 2); it signifies only that if P is an arbitrary element of the manifold, then in every case a certain domain surrounding the point P must be representable singly and reversibly by the value system of n co-ordinates.”

Thus the points on the surface of a sphere form a manifold. The possible configurations of a double pendulum (one pendulum hung off the pendulum bob of another) is a manifold that is nothing but the surface of a two-torus: the surface of a donut (a triple pendulum would give a three-torus etc.) The possible positions of a rigid body in three-space form a six-dimensional manifold. Colour qualities form a two-dimensional manifold (cf. Maxwell’s colour triangle).

It becomes clear that manifolds are ubiquitous in mathematics and other sciences: in mechanics they occur as phase-spaces; in relativity as space-time; in economics as indifference surfaces; whenever dynamical processes are studied, they occur as “state-spaces” (in hydrodynamics, population genetics etc.)

Moreover, in the theory of complex functions, the problem of extending one function to its largest domain of definition naturally leads to the idea of a Riemann surface, a special kind of manifold. 

Although it seems so natural from a modern vantage point, it took some time and quite a bit of work (by Gauss, Riemann, Poincare, Weyl, Whitney, …) till mathematicians arrived at the concept of a manifold as we use it today. It is indispensable in most areas of geometry and topology as well as neighbouring fields making use of geometric methods (ordinary and partial differential equations, modular and automorphic forms, Arakelov theory, geometric group theory…)

Some buzz words suggesting topics which we plan to cover include:

-The notion of a manifold (in different setups), examples of constructions of manifolds (submanifolds, quotients, surgery)

-The tangent space, vector fields, flows/1-parameter groups of diffeomorphisms

-Tangent bundle and vector bundles

-Tensor and exterior algebras, differential forms

-Integration on manifolds, Stokes’ theorem

-de Rham cohomology, examples of their computation (spheres, tori, real projective spaces...)

-Degree theory, applications: argument principle, linking numbers, indices of singularities of vector fields

We will also discuss a lot of concrete and interesting examples of manifolds in the lectures and work sheets, such as for example: tori, n-holed tori, spheres, the Moebius strip, the (real and complex) projective plane, higher-dimensional projective spaces, blow-ups, Hopf manifolds… 

The nature of the material makes it inevitable that considerable time must be devoted to establishing the foundations of the theory and defining as well as clarifying key concepts and geometric notions. However, to make the content more vivid and interesting, we will also seek to include some attractive and non-obvious theorems, which at the same time are not too hard to prove and natural applications of the techniques introduced, such as, for instance, Ehresmann's theorem on differentiable fibrations, or that a sphere cannot be diffeomorphic to a product of (positive-dimensional) manifolds. 

This Module is mathematically closely related to, but formally completely independent of MA3D9 Geometry of Curves and Surfaces. 


Frank W. Warner, Foundations of Differentiable Manifolds and Lie Groups, Springer (1983) (esp. Chapters 1, 2, 4)

M. Berger, B. Gostiaux, Differential Geometry: Manifolds, Curves, and Surfaces, Springer (1988) (esp. Chapters 2-6)

Spivak, A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry, vol. 1, Publish or Perish, Inc. (2005) (esp. Chapters 1-8)

John Lee, Introduction to smooth manifolds, Springer (2012)

Loring W. Tu, An Introduction to Manifolds, Springer (2011)

(some other more specialised, but potentially interesting books can be found among the references at the end of the lecture notes)

Course image MA3H6:Algebraic Topology 2020/21
Course image MA3H7:Control Theory 2020/21
Course image MA3J3:Bifurcations, Catastrophes and Symmetry 2020/21

Lecturer: Dr. David Wood

Term(s): Term 2

Status for Mathematics students: List A

Commitment: 30 Lectures

Assessment: 100% exam

Prerequisites: MA133 Differential EquationsMA249 Algebra IIMA259 Multivariable CalculusMA254 Theory of ODEs would be useful, but is not essential.

Leads to:

Content: This module investigates how solutions to systems of ODEs (in particular) change as parameters are smoothly varied resulting in smooth changes to steady states (bifurcations), sudden changes (catastrophes) and how inherent symmetry in the system can also be exploited. The module will be application driven with suitable reference to the historical significance of the material in relation to the Mathematics Institute (chiefly through the work of Christopher Zeeman and later Ian Stewart). It will be most suitable for third year BSc. students with an interest in modelling and applications of mathematics to the real world relying only on core modules from previous years as prerequisites and concentrating more on the application of theories rather than rigorous proof.

Indicative content (precise details and order still being finalised):

1. Typical one-parameter bifurcations: transcritical, saddle-node, pitchfork bifurcations, Bogdanov-Takens, Hopf bifurcations leading to periodic solutions. Structural stability.
2. Motivating examples from catastrophe and equivariant bifurcation theories, for example Zeeman Catastrophe Machine, ship dynamics, deformations of an elastic cube, D_4-invariant functional.
3. Germs, equivalence of germs, unfoldings. The cusp catastrophe, examples including Spruce-Budworm, speciation, stock market, caustics. Thom’s 7 Elementary Catastrophes (largely through exposition rather than proof). Some discussion on the historical controversies.
4. Steady-State Bifurcations in symmetric systems, equivariance, Equivariant Branching Lemma, linear stability and applications including coupled cell networks and speciation.
5. Time Periocicity and Spatio-Temporal Symmetry: Animal gaits, characterization of possible spatio-temporal symmetries, rings of cells, coupled cell networks, H/K Theorem, Equivariant Hopf Theorem.

Further topics from (if time and interest):

Euclidean Equivariant systems (example of liquid crystals), bifurcation from group orbits (Taylor Couette), heteroclinic cycles, symmetric chaos, Reaction-Diffusion equations, networks of cells (groupoid formalism).

Aims: Understand how steady states can be dramatically affected by smoothly changing one or more parameters, how these ideas can be applied to real world applications and appreciate this work in the historical context of the department.



There is no one text book for this module, but the following may be useful references:

• Nonlinear Oscillations, Dynamical Systems and Bifurcations of Vector Fields, Guckenheimer/Holmes 1983
• Catastrophe Theory and its Applications, Poston and Stewart, 1978
• The Symmetry Perspective, Golubitsky and Stewart, 2002
• Singularities and Groups in Bifurcation Theory Vol 2, Golubitsky/Stewart/Schaeffer 1988
• Pattern Formation, an introduction to methods, Hoyle 2006.