The Hugh C. Morris Lecture Series




The Hugh C. Morris Lecture Series was generously endowed by Dr. Hugh Morris (1932-2012), former Chair of the PIMS Board of Directors, and long-time friend of the mathematical sciences. Dr. Morris had more than 40 years of experience in the mineral industry, including a term as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Metals, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Morris was a member of NSERC's Council and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lithoprobe Project.


Hugh C. Morris Lectures are high profile lectures (aimed either at the broader public, or the scientific community) and take place around the PIMS Network. Suggestions for speakers in the Hugh C. Morris Lecture Series can be made at any time to the Deputy Director of PIMS, and there will be an annual call for nominations in March of each year. Nominations of speakers enhancing PIMS's mission to reach out to diverse audiences are especially encouraged. Suggested speakers will be evaluated based on their academic distinction, ability to deliver an engaging talk to a broad audience and diversity considerations.


Click here to view the speech delivered by Alejandro Adem, former PIMS Director, at a memorial gathering in honor of Hugh Morris in January, 2013.


Upcoming Lectures:



Lecture History:

2019, November 1 (SFU) Modeling and Simulation of Asteroid-Generated Tsunamis

Marsha Berger, Courant Institute, NYU 

Berger is a pioneer in the field of high-performance parallel computing and and numerical analysis with a particular focus on computational fluid dynamics and its applications in aerospace engineering and aeronautics. Her contributions in algebraic multigrid algorithms, flux limiters and cut-cell methods are deep in both a mathematical and computational sense. She was a recipient of the NSF's Presidential Young Investigator Award, a NASA Software of the Year award. She has been elected to both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering; is a SIAM Fellow, and was most recently a winner of the Norbert Weiner Prize in Applied Mathematics.


2019, July 25 (UVictoria) DINOSAUR WARS: Extinction by Asteroid or Volcanism? Are we the Dinosaurs of the 6th Mass Extinction?

Gerta Keller, Princeton University 

Gerta Keller is Professor of Paleontology and Geology in the Geosciences Department of Princeton University since 1984. Her major research and discoveries range from climate change and its effects on ocean circulation, ocean anoxic events, polar warming, Deccan volcanism, comet showers, extraterrestrial impacts, the dinosaur mass extinction, the age of the Chicxulub impact and the 6th mass extinction. Her research frequently challenges accepted scientific dogma and places her at the center of acrimonious debates fighting for survival of truth-based evidence. All but the cause of the Chicxulub impact were soon accepted by scientists and integrated into new research. After four decades, impact proponents still fiercely defend the impact theory, deny contrary evidence and at best incorporate volcanism as ad hoc revisions, proclaiming the impact triggered volcanism that caused the mass extinction. Gerta Keller has over 260 scientific publications in international journals and is a leading authority on catastrophes and mass extinctions, and the biotic and environmental effects of impacts and volcanism. She has co-authored and edited several books and she has been featured in many films and documentaries by very popular TV channels and Film Corporations, including BBC, The History Channel, and Hollywood.



2019, April 25 (USaskatchewan) Modularity of Calabi-Yau Varieties.

Noriko Yui, Queen's University 

Noriko Yui is a professor of mathematics at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Career A native of Japan, Yui obtained her B.S. from Tsuda College, and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Rutgers University in 1974 under the supervision of Richard Bumby. Known internationally, Yui has been a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute in Bonn a number of times and a Bye-Fellow at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Her research is based in arithmetic geometry with applications to mathematical physics and notably mirror symmetry. Currently, much of her work is focused upon the modularity of Calabi-Yau threefolds. Notably, she and Fernando Q. Gouvêa have shown that for {\displaystyle X} X a projective rigid Calabi-Yau threefold defined over {\displaystyle \mathbb {Q} } \mathbb {Q} , the {\displaystyle L} L-function of {\displaystyle X} X is the {\displaystyle L} L-function of a certain modular form. Professor Yui has been the managing editor for the journal Communications in Number Theory and Physics since its inception in 2007. She has edited a number of monographs,and she has co-authored two books.


2019, March 15 (UAlberta) Mathematical and computational approaches to understanding Parkinson's disease and its treatment

Jonathan Rubin, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Rubin majored in Mathematics as an undergraduate at The College of William and Mary and received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University in 1996. He was a Zassenhaus Assistant Professor and then a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics at The Ohio State University before joining the Pitt Mathematics faculty in 2000. In addition to his Mathematics position, he is a Graduate Faculty member, a Center for Neuroscience at University of Pittsburgh Graduate Training Faculty member, a member of the Center for the Basis of Neural Cognition, an affiliate of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and a Visiting Professor in Computational Biology. Six students have completed their Ph.Ds at Pitt under Dr. Rubin's supervision.



2016, September 29 (UVic): Voting in Agreeable Societies

Francis Su (Harvey Mudd College; President of the Mathematical Association of America)

Francis Edward Su is the Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and President of the Mathematical Association of America. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. His research is in geometric and topological combinatorics, motivated by applications in the social sciences. He has held visiting appointments at Cornell University, MSRI, and Caltech. His work has been supported by multiple NSF research grants and he has co-authored numerous papers with undergraduates. Su also has a passion for teaching and popularizing mathematics. From the Mathematical Association of America, he received the 2001 Hasse Prize for expository writing, and the 2004 Alder Award and the 2013 Haimo Award for distinguished teaching. He has delivered many invited lectures at national and Section meetings, including the 2006 Leitzel Lecture. He authors the popular Math Fun Facts website and iPhone app.


2016, March 4 (UBC): Probability, Oustide the Classroom.

David Aldous (UC, Berkeley)

David Aldous is a professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1977. Aldous is the author of "Probability Approximations via the Poisson Clumping Heuristic" and (with Jim Fill) of a notorious unfinished online work "Reversible Markov Chains and Random Walks on Graphs." His research in mathematical probability has covered weak convergence, exchangeability, Markov chain mixing times, continuum random trees, stochastic coalescence and spatial random networks. A central theme has been the study of large finite random structures, obtaining asymptotic behavior as the size tends to infinity via consideration of some suitable infinite random structure. He was founding editor of the journal "Probability Surveys." He has recently become interested in articulating critically what mathematical probability says about the real world. Aldous is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.


2014, November 14 (UVic): The Mathematics of Bats

Cedric Villani (University of Lyon & Institut Henri Poincaré)

Cedric Villani is a French mathematician working primarily on partial differential equations and mathematical physics. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010.


2013, November 1 (UBC): Can We Choose Optimally? The Neural Dynamics of Decisions

Philip Holmes (Princeton University)

Phil Holmes is a Professor of Mechanics and Applied Mathematics at Princeton University, where he directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics until 1997, and again in 2010-11. He is an associated faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.


2012, November 1 (UCalgary): Numbers and Shapes

Henri Darmon (McGill)

Henri Darmon specializes in number theory, working on Hilbert's 12th problem and its relation with the Birch-Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture. He is currently a James McGill Professor of Mathematics at McGill University. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2003 and in 2008,  awarded the Royal Society of Canada's John L. Synge Award.


2011, November 7 (UBC): Uncertainty quantification and systemic risk

George Papanicolaou (Stanford University)

Prof. George Papanicolaou is a highly regarded applied mathematician, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, winner of the SIAM von Neumann Prize (2006) and the William Benter Prize in Applied Mathematics (2010).