The University of Sydney
Leonardo Maltoni was born in Forlì, in Italy, in 1994 and there he had his early education at the Liceo Scientifico Fulcieri Paulucci di Calboli. Then he moved to Bologna to do his Bachelor and Master in Mathematics at the Alma Mater Studiorum, and during the second year he moved to Paris as an Erasmus student. There he attended the courses of algebraic geometry by Daniel Juteau and he started his PhD with him in 2018, co-advised by Geordie Williamson, about a “Bernstein presentation of the affine Hecke category”.
Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community ?
I work in modular representation theory and braid group categorification. Representation theory can be seen, roughly speaking, as the study of symmetries which appear not only in the vast majority of sciences but also in the ordinary life. An object that I particularly study is the braid group which has a really down to earth definition. Its elements are braids that can be concatenated or closed to form knots or links. This has many applications in mathematics and in 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 interested in mathematics since high school and there I had an extremely good teacher that gave me a real passion for the subject. I was particularly fascinated by geometry and I loved objects such as polytopes or tassellations. As an undergraduate, I was particularly inspired by the courses of Luca Migliorini.
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?
It was very important for me to have the AMSI grant. This allowed me to have an accommodation in the campus and hence to be in close contact with the other participants.
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?
I think the most valuable part consisted in the problem sessions. The courses were great and I really enjoyed them, but I think that what makes this kind of experience really unique is the possibility to discuss with the other students and struggle on the exercises together with them. The point of view of others is invaluable in that it can make you see directly and naturally something that would take years to study on your own.
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 that this kind of format can work really well as a replacement for fully in person events that in some cases can become unreasonable. This allows all the engagement of an in person event because one is not alone at home and it permits at the same time to keep the contact with people far away.
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 to apply to such a School! I found the experience very helpful and enjoyable, not only for the opportunity to learn a lot of interesting mathematics but also for the possibility to meet other students and enrich one’s own point of view.
Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five, ten years time?
I really like research and I would like to go on studying Representation Theory. I would like to get a position as a Professor in the future. I would be very happy to go back to Italy at some point but I am really enjoying the possibility to travel and discover other universities and countries.
Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the AMSI Scholarship or AMSI-MSRI Winter School 2022?
It was fun!