In AMSI scholarship recipient

Lei Chen

The University of  Western Australia

Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community?

My name is Lei Chen and I am a second year PhD student working in Group Theory. Group Theory investigates how an object maps onto itself with its structure preserved. It has broad application on Physics, say quantum physics.

How did you get into mathematics and into the area of Representation Theory? Was there someone or something that inspired you to this field?

I was a Mathematics major in university. The four-year study of math greatly intrigues me, so I naturally get into the area of Mathematics after graduation. Since I am doing some Group Theory research, which has an intimate relation with Representation Theory, I also get the opportunity to dabble in some Representation Theory.

You received a grant to attend AMSI Winter School 2022. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend, fully participate in the program and meet others studying in similar fields?

This grant is quite important for me to attend the conference. Since I am from Western Australia, which is the remotest area of the country from Brisbane. I took advantage of the grant to cover my air fee.

Winter School is designed to give students a deeper understanding of their area of research and expose them to others working in different fields/industries. What was the most valuable part of the program for you? Was it the course content or the people you met? Do you have new ideas for your work/research or see it in a new light?

As far as I am concerned, the most valuable part of this conference is that it gives us an opportunity to get to know some most-cutting edge topics in pure math, as well as acquaint some other math students. It is of great help to build one’s network.

AMSI-MSRI Winter School was held as a hybrid event with event hubs in Australia and America. What was the biggest positive from your point of view holding it in this format and/or the biggest challenge?

I think the biggest positive of holding such a hybrid conference, together with the staff from Hawaii, is that it makes everything more dynamic. The biggest challenge might be caused by the time difference.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for Winter School in 2023? How would you describe the conference to them? Should they apply and why?

I would strongly recommend students who works on pure math to apply for the winter school in 2023. They’d better read the introduction and prerequisites of the topics carefully so that they can be well-prepared for the ongoing courses.

Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five, ten years time?

I would like to stay in academia after my PhD. So hopefully I will still do some group theory research in five or ten years.