MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In my department we're thinking about showing online lectures one day per week at lunch, as sort of a virtual colloquium appropriate to mathematics undergraduates as well as faculty. To start with we'd probably not want to launch into a lecture series on a single topic, but instead show high quality colloquium talks. I'm looking for links to things like Voevodsky's lecture "An Intuitive Introduction to Motivic Homotopy Theory", for example. (We give only the title here because links to YouTube aren't allowed on MO. If you intend to answer this question with a YouTube link, instead please type the title of the talk so it can be googled.)

We intend to start with MSRI talks and ICM lectures, but would like to know which are the best quality talks in these collections!

So by now you've probably figured out that the purpose of the current question is to collect other high-quality online colloquium talks:

Question: What is a link to your favorite online talk suitable for (reasonably) general audiences, that is not part of a lecture series?

It would even be useful for us if you provided a recommendation for a particularly high quality talk found in the MSRI or ICM archives, as all of these talks are not created equal.

Thanks in advance for allowing us to benefit from your experience!

To clarify how this question is different from, for example this one, I'm looking for specific lecture recommendations and not only general collections of lectures. The hope is that the community can share its good taste in order to benefit our virtual colloquium (and help other departments who might want to try this).

share|cite|improve this question
Please CW moderators! – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 16:00
I just gave an answer containing a Youtube link, and it worked --- why do you say they aren't allowed? – Federico Poloni Aug 13 '13 at 17:34
@Federico: When I was typing the question I tried to include the and MO wouldn't let me post the question... – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:39
For those who are voting to close, what precisely is the problem with this question? (I'd like to know in order to avoid asking ones like it!) Please suggest modifications that might make the question suitable. – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:42
I voted to close because I find the formulation of the question "subjective and argumentative", and the potential answers perhaps to overlap with the previous such question(s). Though I'll defer to the opinion of more experienced people, in case this question is deemed suitable :-) – Suvrit Aug 13 '13 at 22:36

Not sure if public lectures count, but I've always been fond of

(Gresham Lecture in 2007 by some descendant or other of the author of the Complete Plain Words)

share|cite|improve this answer
Public lectures count, Yemon. Thanks! – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:13
(In fact, the Voevodsky lecture I refer to above is a public lecture. The idea is to engage undergrads and simultaneously have something interesting to watch with colleagues at lunch.) – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:29

For a lighter topic, Mathematics of Juggling by Allen Knutson is great.

share|cite|improve this answer
I was looking for something on this (where someone who could actually juggle could talk about it...) – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:33

Look at the web page of Carl Bender. It contains some remarkable colloquium talks and lectures (videotaped) on the boundary between mathematics and physics.

share|cite|improve this answer
Thanks, Alexandre! – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:06

My favourite is Bar Natan's talk explaining why ancient celts should have discovered Witten's construction of the Jones polynomial.

"Cosmic coincidences and several other stories",

share|cite|improve this answer
I can't seem to get the video to work for this one...maybe it's just my machine, though. – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:16
On the "talk video" page, if it doesn't work directly in your brwoser there is a link to download it : – Adrien Aug 13 '13 at 17:19
Thanks, Adrien, this download option ought to work. – Jon Bannon Aug 13 '13 at 17:25

If applied math is allowed, here's one about invariant manifolds and interplanetary superhighway (Restricted three body problem)

share|cite|improve this answer
Why not applied math is allowed! – Atsushi Kanazawa Aug 13 '13 at 18:16

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.