The Ohio State University at Newark


Research on High-Dimensional Spheres: Ohio State Newark Assistant Professor Joins International Mathematics Workshop

NEWARK, Ohio – You’ve probably only heard of theoretical physics when Sheldon Cooper talks about it on The Big Bang Theory. But, a faculty member at The Ohio State University at Newark is conducting math research this summer that is used by theoretical physicists. Assistant Professor of Mathematics Niles Johnson recently presented at a workshop on algebraic topology at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery. The workshop brought together the world’s leading experts in the field.

“The workshop is about these things called 'highly structured homology theories' which are some machines built for measuring high-dimensional shapes,” said Johnson. “The spheres are the most fundamental and fascinating of the high-dimensional shapes, providing the building blocks for all other shapes. The topology of high-dimensional shapes has concrete applications in big (high-dimensional) data analysis, string theory and algebra.”

The workshop was held from May 22 - 27. There were only about 40 participants with the goal of increasing the chances of interactions between small groups of individuals. Organizers expected significant collaborative research to be carried out at the workshop or come as a direct result of it.

“We're applying what we learned, together with some new algebra, to make calculations with these highly structured homology theories,” said Johnson. “It’s really exciting to be a part of something so innovative where so many expert researchers get together. Wonderful results come out of these kinds of workshops.”

BIRS in Banff, Alberta, Canada, is a collaborative Canada-U.S.-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge and methods within the mathematical sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station in Banff is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.