The Bowen Lectures

The Bowen Lectures are supported by anonymous donors, one of whom was an undergraduate student of Rufus Bowen.


The 2020-2021 Bowen Lectures will be given by Efim Zelmanov (UCSD), online. Each lecture starts at 4:10pm and ends at 5:00 pm.


Title of the Series: Combinatorial Algebra
Abstract of the Series:
Combinatorial Algebra has traditionally focused on generators and relations, growth functions and questions related to the Burnside problem. We will discuss all these topics for groups, algebras, Lie algebras etc.


Tuesday March 16th (Rescheduled)
Lecture 1: Growth functions.
We will discuss two functions that characterize finitely generated algebras (resp. monoids): (1) time complexity function and (2) growth functions.


Thursday March 11th
Lecture 2: Infinite dimensional Lie algebras and superalgebras.
The class of Lie algebras of slow growth includes affine Kac-Moody algebras, algebras of Cartan type, superconformal algebras. We will focus on attempts of classification of these algebras and their representations.


Friday March 12th
Lecture 3: Identical relations in groups.
The celebrated theorem of Amitsur-Levitzki provides identities for matrices over commutative rings. We will discuss group theoretic analogs for prounipotent and pro-p linear groups.




Born in 1947 in Vallejo, California, Robert Edward (Rufus) Bowen was awarded the AB with prizes for scholarship by the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. His doctorate in Mathematics was completed in Berkeley in 1970 under the direction of Stephen Smale. In that year he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Mathematics at Berkeley. He was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1977.

Bowen worked in mathematical dynamics systems theory. His pioneering studies of topological entropy, symbolic dynamics, Markov partitions, and invariant measures are of lasting importance; much of today's research is inspired by his ideas.

Past Bowen Lecturers

1981-82     Dennis Sullivan
1982-83     Anatol Katok
1983-84     Michael Atiyah
1984-85     John Franks
1985-86     William Parry
1986-87     Nancy Kopell
1987-88     Blaine Lawson
1988-89     David Ruelle
1989-90     Yuri Manin
1990-91     John Milnor
1991-92     Philip Holmes
1992-93     Israel M. Gelfand
1993-94     Alain Connes
1994-95     Shing-Tung Yau
1995-96     Peter Sarnak
1996-97     Vladimir Arnold
1997-98     Simon Donaldson
1998-99     Barry Mazur
1999-00     Cliff Taubes
2000-01     Don Zagier
2001-02     Yakov G. Sinai
2002-03     Roger Penrose
2003-04     Richard Hamilton
2004-05     Curt McMullen
2005-06     John Conway
2006-07     Edward Witten
2007-08     Michael Freedman
2008-09     Hillel Furstenberg
2009-10     Christophe Soulé
2010-11     Michael Hopkins
2011-12     Cédric Villani
2012-13     Benedict Gross
2013-14     Jeff Cheeger
2014-15     Dusa McDuff
2015-16     Jacob Lurie
2016-17     Michael Harris
2017-18     Avi Wigderson
2018-19     James McKernan and Christopher Hacon