Mathematics Research Communities, American Mathematical Society

3 569Program ID: MRC-GRAVITY [#569]
Program Title: The Mathematics of Gravity and Light Week 1a, June 3-9, 2018
Program Location: Rhode Island, United States [map]
Application Deadline: 2018/02/15** finished (2017/07/07, finished 2018/07/30, listed until 2018/10/31)
Program Description:    

*** this program has been closed, and no new applications will be accepted. ***

About the Mathematics Research Communities:

Mathematics Research Communities (MRC), a program of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), nurtures early-career mathematicians--those who are close to finishing their doctorates or have recently finished--and provides them with opportunities to build social and collaborative networks through which they can inspire and sustain each other in their work.

The structured program is designed to engage and guide all participants as they start their careers. For each topic, the program includes a one-week summer conference, a Special Session at the next Joint Mathematics Meetings, and a longitudinal study of early career mathematicians.

The summer conferences of the MRC are held at the Whispering Pines Conference Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, where participants can enjoy the natural beauty and a collegial atmosphere. Those accepted into this program will receive support (full room and board at Whispering Pines Conference Center and airfare or partial airfare) for the summer conference, and will be partially supported for their participation in the Joint Mathematics Meetings which follow in January 2019.

ELIGIBILITY: Individuals within one to two years prior to the receipt of their PhDs, or up to five years after receipt of their PhDs, are welcome to apply.  Most of those supported by NSF funds to participate in the MRC program will be US-based, that is, employed by or a full-time student at a US institution at the time of the MRC summer conference. However, the terms of the grant allow for a limited number of individuals who are not US-based. A few international participants may be accepted. Women and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.  All participants are expected to be active in the full MRC program.

For any program, fellowship, prize or award that has a maximum period of eligibility after receipt of the doctoral degree, the selection committee may use discretion in making exceptions to the limit on eligibility for candidates whose careers have been interrupted for reasons such as family or health. Therefore, an applicant who has had to slow down or temporarily stop his or her career for personal reasons may request to be considered for an extension in the amount of time after the PhD degree. Please send exception requests to

  • Completed on-line application form
  • One (1) reference letter submitted by a professor or supervisor who knows the applicant and can address how the applicant will benefit from, and contribute to, the MRC program.

Note that all applicants will be notified of their status by May 1, 2018.

Week 1: June 3 – 9, 2018-- The Mathematics of Gravity and Light

Charles Keeton, Rutgers University
Arlie Petters, Duke University
Marcus Werner, Kyoto University

The propagation of light probes the fundamental structure of spacetime, and its gravitational dynamics are described by general relativity or possible modifications. These theoretical models are increasingly testable thanks to the latest advances in astronomy. We will explore the mathematical properties of gravitational lensing, which is the study of how gravity acts on light. Given the remarkable recent insight that gravity theories can be constructed “geometrodynamically” so as to ensure predictivity, we will also investigate how such theories may be tested. The attractive nature of this research is that it intersects with several core areas of mathematics, e.g., differential geometry, analysis, PDEs, algebra, and probability theory.

Our interdisciplinary summer conference will be aimed at newcomers to the field, with a strong focus on team-based collaborative work. Pedagogically, the expressway into the subject is to use the thin-screen, weak-field limit of gravitational lensing, which is rich with examples that carry many of the key ideas and theorems in the field. Teams will analyze specific examples that lead to open problems. Extending beyond the weak-field limit, an accessible introduction to the relevant aspects of Riemannian, Lorentzian, and Finslerian geometry will be given, so that the differences among the three, as well as the ways in which they appear in general relativity and gravitational lensing, can be appreciated. This will lead naturally to recent results and open problems in constructive gravity and optical geometry. This conference addresses the following topics: deterministic and stochastic weak-field gravitational lensing; numerical aspects of gravitational lensing with astrophysical applications; constructive gravity; optical geometry of Lorentzian spacetimes; non-Lorentzian optical geometries; singularities in gravitational lensing; testing five-dimensional modified gravity.

We seek an academically excellent and diverse group of peri-doctoral mathematical scientists with an interest in applications as well as physicists keen on mathematical structure.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following item online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the program description.

Further Info:
800-321-4267 x 4113
Electronic submission of reference letters is requested.
If this is not possible, contact

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