# Minhyong Kim

김민형

### Mathematician and author

Director, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh

Edmund Whittaker Professor of Mathematical Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Professor of Mathematics, Heriot-Watt University

Faculty Profile at the University of Edinburgh

Artwork by Son Yein

Current Events

Mathematical Models for Twenty-First Century Decisions. A Mathematics for Humanity Workshop.

Mathematical models are widely used to inform high-impact decisions for humanity, such as responding to climate change, managing the economy, predicting and controlling renewable energy systems, and dealing with the COVID- 19 pandemic. Improvements in computing power and accessibility and new developments in machine learning have made sophisticated modelling machinery widely available even to people who are not well-acquainted with theoretical fundamentals of modelling and simulation. This presents risks: both risks of poor-quality modelling informing poor decision-making with high real-world impact, and also risks relating to the erosion of public trust in scientific information. These risks can be reduced by improving the conceptual and mathematical foundation on which socially-relevant modelling endeavours are based. While this is a critical justification in itself, there is also a huge opportunity to develop new mathematical tools for the next generation of models, to share recent developments and to bring together and nurture pockets of good practice from across modelling disciplines and areas of application, united by a common mathematical approach.

This workshop will bring together several disciplinary networks that already exist in the UK (such as JUNIPER, V-KEMS, CliMathNet, AU4DM, M2D, DMDU, CRUISSE, various Centres and networks in energy systems, environmental economics, and so on). A small number of non-academic contributors will provide specific agenda-setting perspectives on the use of models by external organisations in different contexts and to ensure that the discussions remain focused on using mathematics to improve the real-world utility of models. The workshop will stimulate exchange of mathematical ideas and techniques across modelling disciplines and development of new tools.

A Global History of Eclipse Reckoning. A Mathematics for Humanity Workshop

Some of the earliest mathematical rumination concerns mapping and modelling the periodicities of celestial phenomena. One particularly striking recurring astronomical event is the dramatic celestial occurrence of a lunar or solar eclipse. These events inspired early thinkers to develop and refine techniques and procedures to predict these phenomena and account for their features. Yet, despite the widespread continuity of the endeavour of eclipse reckoning and the mathematical practices that underpin it, typical narratives of its technical history nonetheless tend to be very geographically confined and dominated by sources and voices carrying the interests of specific regions subject to the influence of particular contemporary forces. Existing scholarship invites further work that can encompass a unity of approach alongside distinctiveness. This enterprise requires a wide range of mathematical, technical, cultural, and historical expertise to uncover commonalities and circulation in all directions.

The objective of this 5-day workshop is to bring scholars from distinct cultures of inquiry together to share the specific ways in which people in different times and places developed mathematics to model eclipse phenomena, with a chronological focus on the period 1650-1922, and to trace the circulation and development of these technical insights and practices globally. The workshop will include academic papers from a range of both established and early-career researchers alongside workshops designed to connect participants with eclipse-related methods and physical processes of mathematical knowledge-making, as well as to consider different forms of research output related to eclipse research and how this changed over the period under investigation and continues to develop. The aim is to bring together a cross-cultural cohort of scholars with the vision of generating a broader, coherent sense of shared ownership of the mathematical tradition of eclipse reckoning.

My main preoccupation at the moment is a new project of the ICMS with the name Mathematics for Humanity. It's main goal is to support mathematical activities around the world with potential for direct impact on the betterment of the human condition. A subsidiary goal is to provide a unifying umbrella for many things of this nature that mathematicians are already doing. By providing this unifying framework, I hope the value of such activity is better recognised and that the practioner can enjoy a greater sense of mission. Please look at the webpage linked above and submit proposals for activities. I hope especially to attract new ideas from young mathematicians as well as senior mathematicians interested in running their usual research programmes in parallel with contributions to global welfare.

Article in Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Science Breakthrough Radar

Workshop on Mathematics and Literature

Lectures on the Mathematical Structure of Language

ICMS Director's Public Lecture: The ABC Mysteries

Multiscale Modeling: Infectious Diseases, Cancer and Treatments

Summary

I am a mathematician working primarily on arithmetic geometry, the study of spaces built out of finitely-generated systems of numbers. My main contribution to mathematics is the discovery of the non-abelian method of Chabauty, a theoretical framework for applying ideas of topology, especially homotopy theory, to the algorithmic resolution of Diophantine equations. I am also interested in mathematical physics, the mathematical structure of matter and spacetime in general, and topological quantum field theory in particular.

I have a keen interest in public engagement. I have given numerous presentations since 2010 at schools, teacher training workshops, and corporate training programmes, as well as 'talk concerts' on a wide range of topics in mathematics and its interface with other domains of inquiry, especially physics and economics. If you are interested in having me at such an event, do not hesitate to contact me. I have published ten books so far written for the general public. My interest in engagement is an important component of the way I've put together this site. I'm trying to make the material accessible and friendly to any curious person, even while providing standard information that might be useful for my colleagues in academia. I hope the style is not off-putting to the latter. However, I haven't anything like the energy and creativity that some of the serious communicators of science are able to put into their website. As a result, I fear that my modest effort here will look silly both to colleagues and to the general public. As an extension of public engagement, I am a consultant for WoongjinThinkbig, one of the oldest educational publishers in Korea. I am doing my best to help them develop educational software.

I work at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, a gathering place for mathematical scientists from all over the world, located in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. The city is surrounded by nature, as rugged as can be in a major city, even while it's steeped in history, including intellectual history. It's a real privilege to trace the footsteps of inspiring figures like David Hume, Adam Smith, Mary Somerville, James Clerk Maxwell, and Michael Atiyah on a daily basis. I am also a distinguished professor at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study in the city of Seoul, itself a beautiful place in some similar and some different ways.

## Brief Professional Biography

I grew up in Seoul, Korea, studied mathematics at Seoul National University, then received my Ph.D. in Mathematics at Yale University under the direction of Igor Frenkel, Serge Lang, and Barry Mazur (Harvard). I moved on to faculty positions at MIT, Columbia University, the University of Arizona, Purdue University, the Korea Institute for Advanced Study, University College London, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Ewha Womans University, and the University of Oxford, where I was the head of the number theory research group. Most recently before moving to Edinburgh, I was Christopher Zeeman Professor of Algebra, Geometry, and Public Understanding of Mathematics at the University of Warwick.

It is perhaps not so well known that a mathematician's life involves a good deal of travel. In particular, I have held visiting professorships at numerous institutions including the University of Paris, University of Illinois, University of Kyoto, Seoul National University, ICTS Bangalore, and the University of Toronto.

From 'Relative Langlands Duality' by David Ben-Zvi, Yiannis Sakellaridis, and Akshay Venkatesh

What is Mathematics?

The part of physics where experiments are cheap. (V.I. Arnold, On Teaching Mathematics (1997))

It appears that mathematics as we know it arises from the nature of our brains and the embodied experience. (G. Lakoff and R. Nunez, Where Mathematics Comes From (2000))

The answer, it appears, is that any argument which is carried out with sufficient precision is mathematical. (D. Gale and L. Shapley, College Admissions and the Stability of Marriage (1962))

If all mathematics disappeared today, physics would be set back exactly one week. (R.P. Feynman, source unknown)

To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in. (R.P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (1965))

Its Applications (M. de Unamuno)