Green Family Lecture Series

Green Family Lecture Series - Professor Walter Kohn - 120529

Walter Kohn, 2012 Green Family Lecturer

IPAM’s co-founder and former director Mark L. Green and his family established a generous endowment in 2011 to support an annual lecture series at IPAM. In 2017, they made a second gift to expand the series to two per year.  Since 2012, the Green Family Lecture Series has attracted speakers of the highest international stature. Their lectures cover topics of interest to IPAM participants, the university audience and the broader community.

The Green Family Lectures are advertised broadly to the relevant communities. The first talk is meant for the general public. The second “research lecture” is intended for those with a general background in science and math. The third talk is on the lecturer’s current research, and is usually part of an IPAM workshop. The first and second talks are held in a large lecture hall on campus, to accommodate an audience of 200 or more; no RSVP is necessary.  With the lecturer’s permission, we video record the lectures and make them available on IPAM’s website and YouTube Channel.


Hugo Duminil-Copin: Born in 1985 in Châtenay-Malabry in France, Hugo Duminil-Copin grew up in the Paris region. After passing through the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he graduated from the University of Paris-Saclay. Appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Geneva in 2013, he has also been a permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Bures-Sur-Yvette since 2016. In 2022, he received the Fields Medal from the IMU.

From Coffee to Mathematics: Making Connections and Finding Unexpected Links, May 20, 2024

Critical phenomena through the lens of the Ising model, May 21, 2024


Peter Shor is a Professor of Applied Mathematics since 2003 and the Chair of the Applied Mathematics Committee since 2015 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1985. Professor Shor worked with AT&T as a member of its research team from 1986 to 2003. His research interests are in theoretical computer science on algorithms, quantum computing, computational geometry, and combinatorics. He has received numerous awards as recognition for his contribution to quantum computing namely: Nevanlinna Prize and the International Quantum Communication Award and the Dickinson Prize in Science (1998); the  Gödel Prize of the ACM and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1999); the King Faisal International Prize in Science (2002); the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (2017); the IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award, jointly with Charles Bennett, Igor Devetak, Aram Harrow, and Andreas Winter (2017); the IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award, for Outstanding Contributions to Communications Technology (2018); 2018 Micius Quantum Prize (2019); and MIT’s 2022-2023 James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, the highest honor the Institute faculty can bestow upon one of its members each academic year. He is a member of the National Academy of Science (2002), and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011); As of 2020, Shor is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2022 Fellow of the AMS.

Quantum Computing, November 27, 2023

The Development of Quantum Error Correction, November 28, 2023


Margaret Murnane is a Fellow of JILA and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado. She runs a joint, multi-disciplinary, research group with her husband, Prof. Henry Kapteyn. She received her B.S and M.S. degrees from University College Cork, Ireland, and her Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley. Margaret, with her group and collaborators, uses coherent beams of laser, EUV and soft x-ray light to capture and manipulate the structure and interactions in materials at the nanoscale. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and the AAAS, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Margaret is the Director of the National Science Foundation STROBE Center, where scientists from 6 universities are building the microscopes of tomorrow.

Building the Microscopes of Tomorrow , October 10, 2022

Harnessing Quantum Physics for Tabletop X-Ray Lasers , October 11, 2022


Cynthia Dwork, is the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard, Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Law School and Department of Statistics, and Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft, is renowned for placing privacy-preserving data analysis on a mathematically rigorous foundation. She has also made seminal contributions in algorithmic fairness, cryptography, and distributed computing, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the IEEE Hamming Medal and the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award. Dwork is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Fairness, Justice, and … Algorithms? July 14, 2022

Differential Privacy and the US Census. July 18, 2022


Andrea M. Ghez is Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine chair in Astrophysics. She is one of the world’s leading experts in observational astrophysics and heads UCLA’s Galactic Center Group. Best known for her ground-breaking work on the center of our Galaxy, which has led to the best evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes, she has received numerous honors and awards. In 2020 she became the fourth woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, sharing one half of the prize with Reinhard Genzel (the other half was awarded to Roger Penrose). She is the first woman to receive a Crafoord prize in any field, received the Bakerian Medal from the Royal Society of London, a MacArthur Fellowship, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Ghez earned her BS from MIT in 1987, and her PhD from Caltech in 1992 and has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1994.

From the Possibility to the Certainty of a Supermassive Black Hole. October 25, 2021


Jill P. Mesirov is Associate Vice Chancellor for Computational Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. As Associate Vice Chancellor, Mesirov is responsible for the overarching strategy for computational health sciences and research computing at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She is a member of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, where she serves as co-lead for the structural and functional genomics research program.

Can We Use Genomics to Better Understand and Treat Cancer? January 27, 2020

Computational Genomic Approaches to the Understanding and Treatment of Cancer. January 28, 2020


Emmanuel Candès is the Barnum-Simons Chair in Mathematics and Statistics and a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received his PhD in statistics from Stanford in 1998. His research interests include computational harmonic analysis, statistics, information theory, signal processing and mathematical optimization. He has received many awards including the McArthur Fellowship in 2017 and the Alan T. Waterman Award from NSF in 2006.  He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (2014) and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014). He has given over 60 plenary lectures at major international conferences including the International Congress of Mathematicians (2014).

Sailing Through Data: Discoveries and Mirages. September 24, 2018

The Knockoffs Framework: New Statistical Tools for Replicable Selections. September 27, 2018

Barry Barish is a leading expert on gravitational waves. He is the Linde Professor of Physics, Emeritus at Caltech and recently joined the faculty at UC Riverside. At Caltech, Barish was the principal investigator, then director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).  He created the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), which now enables more than 1000 collaborators world-wide to participate in LIGO.  In 2017, Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Barish earned a Ph.D in experimental high energy physics at UC Berkeley in 1962.  His lectures will take place the week of January 28, 2019; details will be announced in December.

From Einstein to Gravitational Waves. January 28, 2019

Gravitational Waves and a Future New Science. January 30, 2019.


Yann LeCun is Director of Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research and Silver Professor at NYU, affiliated with the Courant Institute and the Center for Data Science. He received a PhD in Computer Science from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris). After a postdoc at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Labs, and became head of Image Processing Research at AT&T Labs in 1996. He joined NYU in 2003 and Facebook in 2013. His current interests include AI, machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics, and computational neuroscience. He has been a member of IPAM’s Science Advisory Board since 2008 and has organized several IPAM programs.

Deep Learning and the Future of Artificial Intelligence. February 5, 2018

AI Breakthroughs & Obstacles to Progress, Mathematical and Otherwise. February 6, 2018

Vaughan Jones is a mathematician known for his work on von Neumann algebras and knot polynomials. He obtained a BSc and an MSc at the University of Auckland and his PhD at the University of Geneva. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where he taught at UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985. Jones has been at Vanderbilt University as Stevenson Distinguished Professor of mathematics since 2011, while remaining Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and Distinguished Alumni Professor at the University of Auckland. Jones was awarded the Fields Medal in 1990 for his discovery of the quantization of the index of a subfactor, and what is now called the Jones polynomial of a knot.

What is it about the Plane? May 1, 2018

God May or May Not Play Dice but He Sure Loves a von Neumann Algebra. May 2, 2018


Edward Witten is a mathematical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Witten is a researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, and supersymmetric quantum field theories, and is a leading researcher in superstring theory. In addition to his contributions to physics, Witten’s work has had a significant impact in pure mathematics.  In 1990 he became the first and so far the only physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union.  He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of a MacArthur Prize, the Dirac Medal, and other honors.

From Gauge Theory to Khovanov Homology Via Floer Theory. March 6, 2017

What’s New In Two-Dimensional Topological Gravity.  December 1, 2017


Ingrid Daubechies is best known for her breakthroughs in wavelet research, advances in time-frequency analysis, and contributions to digital signal processing. Some of the wavelet bases and other computational techniques she developed were incorporated into the JPEG2000 standard for image compression. Daubechies was the first female full professor of mathematics at Princeton, the first woman to receive the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics, the first woman president of the International Mathematical Union, and she is very likely the first and only mathematician to have been granted the title of Baroness by Belgium’s King Albert II.

The Master’s Hand: Can Image Analysis Detect the Hand of the Master? May 19, 2016

Bones, Teeth and Animation. May 20, 2016


Andrew W. Lo (MIT) has published numerous articles in finance and economics journals, and has authored several books including The Econometrics of Financial Markets, A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street, and Hedge Funds: An Analytic Perspective.  His awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Paul A. Samuelson Award, election to Academia Sinica, the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Time Magazine’s 2012 list of the “100 most influential people in the world,” and  teaching awards from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT.

Can Financial Engineering Cure Cancer? A New Approach to Funding Biomedical Innovation. May 18, 2015

Evolutionary Foundations of Economic Behavior, Bounded Rationality, and Intelligence. May 19, 2015


Avi Wigderson, Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, works in theoretical computer science and information science. He was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians on two occasions, and was awarded the Nevanlinna Prize in 1994 and the Gödel Prize in 2009. He also gave the AMS Gibbs Lectures and received the AMS Conant Prize. Wigderson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Randomness and Pseudorandomness. May 19, 2014

Permanent & Determinant: Non-identical Twins. May 20, 2014.


Wendelin Werner (ETH Zurich) works at the interface of probability theory with complex analysis and mathematical physics. He received the Fields Medal in 2006 for his work on stochastic Loewner evolution and the geometry of two-dimensional Brownian motion. His other awards include the Fermat Prize, the Loève Prize, and SIAM’s George Pólya Prize, shared with his collaborators Gregory Lawler and Oded Schramm. He became a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2008.

Drawing Pictures at Random. June 6, 2013

Random Mountains. June 7, 2013


Walter Kohn made major contributions to the physics of semiconductors, superconductivity, surface physics and catalysis. He was the founding director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and received numerous awards including the Niels Bohr/Unesco Gold Medal, the United States National Medal of Science and the Richard Prange Prize. His role in creating Density Functional Theory, the most widely used theory of the electronic structure of matter, earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.

A World Predominately Powered by Solar and Wind Energy? May 29, 2012

Electronic Structure of Matter: Wave Functions and Density Functionals. May 30, 2012

A Physicist’s Approach to Macular Degeneration. May 31, 2012