This talk will take a virtual tour of the toy store with our friends Maria Callas, Alexander Grothendieck and Hermann Hesse. There are pleasant games with glass beads, athletic games skiing the moguls, and violent games where everything gets smashed. There are crystals and hurricanes and, of course, a few polynomials. The point of the talk is to tell some stories related to current research in symmetry.


Arun Ram grew up in a smallish town in New Mexico–leaving to Boston to go university at MIT.  After deciding that he needed a lifestyle which enabled him to travel and sit in coffee shops he found it best to get a PhD in Mathematics.  After obtaining his PhD from Univ. California San Diego he was in a sequence of junior positions before landing at University of Wisconsin in 1999.  In 2008 he moved to University of Melbourne where the mathematics, the weather, and the city suit him well.  His passions are beauty, music, languages, cultures, and people.

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