Lecture Series by Phillip Griffiths - Spring 2020

University of Miami
Department of Mathematics
College of Arts and Sciences

Lecture Series
Spring Semester 2020

Positivity and Vanishing Theorems

presented by

Distinguished Professor Phillip Griffiths

Ungar Building, Room 506

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 4:00pm
Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 4:00pm
Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 5:00pm


Existence theorems are a central part of algebraic geometry. These results frequently involve linear problems where positivity assumptions are used to prove existence of solutions by establishing the vanishing of obstructions to that existence. Beginning with Riemann (algebraic curves), Picard (algebraic surfaces) and continuing into more recent times (Lefschetz, Hodge, Kodaira-Spencer and many others since this work) it has come to be understood that the vanishing theorems are intimately related to the topology of algebraic varieties.

What remains is the case that although the results are about algebraic varieties, analytic tools are needed to establish them. Moreover the property of positivity also appears in other aspects where analytic methods are needed, an example being the proof of the Iitaka conjecture which is central in the classification of algebraic varieties. The purpose of these lectures is to present, sometimes from an historical perspective, some of the principal aspects of the theory.

Some Information:

Phillip Griffiths
Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Dr. Phillip Griffiths is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Scholar in Mathematics. He received his B.S. from Wake Forest University in 1959 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1962. He served as the Institute for Advanced Study as Director from 1991 until 2003, as Professor of Mathematics from 2004 until 2009, and as Professor Emeritus since 2009. He has served as the Chair of its Science Initiative Group since 1999. He was Provost and James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University from 1983 to 1991. He has also served on the faculties of the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton University and Harvard University.

Dr. Griffiths is one of the world's foremost experts in algebraic geometry and was inducted into the National Academy of Science in 1979 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. Among his many honors, Dr. Griffiths is the recipient of the Chern Medal from the International Mathematical Union (2014), the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society (2014), the Brouwer Prize from the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society (2008) and the Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics (2008). He was a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow from 1980 until 1982.

Dr. Griffiths has served on many important advisory boards and committees throughout his career including the Board of Trustees for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (2008-2013; Chair 2010-2013), the Board of Directors of Banker's Trust New York (1994-1999), the Board of Directors of Oppenheimer Funds (1999-2013), the Carnegie-IAS Commission on Mathematics and Science Education (Chair 2007-2009), and the Scientific Committee of the Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research (2010-2013). From 2002 to 2005 he was the Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs for the US National Academy of Sciences and from 2001 to 2010 Senior Advisor to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.