Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132

Open Neighborhood Seminar of November 20, 2019

The last Open Neighborhood Seminar of the semester will take place on Wednesday November 20, at 4:30 p.m. in SC 507, with a reception in the Common Room afterwards. Our speaker is Brooke Ullery (Harvard):
Title: Polynomials vanishing on points in the plane

Abstract: We all know that any two points in the plane lie on a unique line. However, three points will lie on a line only if those points are in a very special position: collinear! More generally if Z is a set of k points, we can ask what the set of polynomials of degree d that vanish on all the points of Z looks like. The answer depends not only on the values of k and d, but also on the geometry of Z. This question, in some form, dates back to at least the 4th century. We will talk about several attempts to answer it throughout history and some surprising connections to modern algebraic geometry.