William Thurston Lectures

2017 Thurston Lectures

We are excited to announce that the first installment of our annual Thurston Lectures, named after Fields Medalist and former UC Davis mathematician William Thurston and made possible by a generous donation, will be delivered this Spring 2017 quarter by Dylan Thurston.

Event details: Prof. Thurston will be visiting the UC Davis Department of Mathematics during the week of May 1-5 and will deliver 3 lectures:

  • Lecture 1: Undergraduate lecture, Tuesday May 2, 5:30-6:30 in Mathematical Sciences Building 1147.
  • Lecture 2: Colloquium, "Rubber Bands and Rational Maps" -- Wednesday May 3, 4-5 pm in Mathematical Sciences Building 1147. The colloquium will be followed by a reception.
  • Lecture 3: Geometry and topology seminar. May 4, 12-1 pm in Mathematical Sciences Building 1147.

Download 2017 Thurston Lectures flyer

Speaker bio


Dylan Thurston is a professor of mathematics at Indiana University, Bloomington. In his research, he has contributed broadly to Heegaard Floer homology, cluster algebras and representation theory, finite-type invariants of 3-manifolds, combinatorial topology and geometry, conformal geometry, and even quantum gravity and cosmological inflation. Prior to becoming a professor at Indiana University, he held positions at the University of California, Berkeley; the Tokyo Institute of Technology; Cornell University; Barnard College at Columbia University; and Harvard University. In 2017, he was named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

William Paul Thurston


William Paul Thurston (October 30, 1946 – August 21, 2012) was among the most original and influential mathematicians of the twentieth century. He transformed the mathematics of foliations, low-dimensional topology, hyperbolic manifolds, the theory of rational maps, and geometric group theory. His work led to a fundamental rethinking of the structure of 3-dimensional spaces.

Thurston received a bachelor's degree from New College in 1967 and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley in 1972. He spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study and a year at MIT before being appointed Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University in 1974. In 1991 he moved to UC Berkeley and in 1993 he was appointed Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. In 1996 he moved again, this time to UC Davis,where he was a Professor of Mathematics until 2003, when he moved to Cornell.  Bill was in the process of returning to UC Davis in 2012 when he tragically passed away.

Thurston’s work revealed the unexpectedly central role played by hyperbolic geometry in the study of low-dimensional manifolds.  His Geometrization Conjecture, which he solved in many cases, changed the fundamental viewpoint from which mathematicians approached the study of manifolds.

Thurston was awarded the Veblen Prize in Geometry in 1976, the Fields Medal at the 1983 International Congress of Mathematicians in Warsaw and the Leroy P. Steele Prize for seminal contribution to research in 2012. Thurston had numerous Ph.D. students, many of whom became leading mathematicians themselves.

"Mathematics is a process of staring hard enough with enough perseverence at the fog of muddle and confusion to eventually break through to improved clarity."

–Bill Thurston, "About me" on MathOverflow


For questions, contact Gladis Lopez-Lytle at mso@math.ucdavis.edu.