Resources for undergraduate students

GIIM (Gender Inclusivity in Mathematics). An organization dedicated to creating a community of mathematicians particularly welcoming to women interested in math and reducing the gender gap in Harvard's math department.

The Open Neighborhood Seminar. A seminar series aimed at fostering a sense of mathematical community by bringing together members of the department at all levels. The primary goal is to give undergraduates a glimpse into current mathematical research and an opportunity to meet and talk to older members of the department in an informal and welcoming setting.

Math Programs. This site is meant to allow programs in the mathematical sciences such as undergraduate summer research programs, small travel grant programs, and various "admissions" settings to have a site for accepting, reading, rating, and responding to electronic applications. It has also become a great place for students to learn about new programs they can apply for.

Math Table. The undergraduate Mathematics Colloquium (aka Math Table). Its purpose is to expose students to diverse topics of pure and applied mathematics, to suggest potential Senior Thesis topics. Speakers include faculty, guest speakers, graduate students and undergraduate students. All students, irrespective of their mathematical backgrounds, are strongly encouraged to attend and/or to give talks. Tuesday nights at 5:30 in Mather House Private Dining Rooms A and B.

Math Night. A great opportunity to meet other math students, form pset groups, ask questions, and learn about other math classes. Every Monday night in Leverett dining hall from 8pm to 10pm.

Hiro's past classes and seminars

If you click on the links below, and if the classes were made public, you will find notes from previous classes.

Spring 2018: Undergraduate Seminar toward Fukaya Categories

Fall 2017 Math 122: Algebra I: Theory of Groups and Vector Spaces

Fall 2017 Math 221: Algebra

Fall 2016 Seminar on Derived Geometry and Floer Theory

Fall 2015 Math 277: Fukaya categories, sheaves, and cosheaves

Fall 2015 Math 230a: Differential Geometry

Fall 2014 Math 122: Algebra I: Theory of Groups and Vector Spaces

Fall 2014 Math 230a: Differential Geometry

Fall 2013 Math 231a: Algebraic Topology

Fall 2013 Math 280x: Bridgeland Stability

Fall 2013 Reading Seminar on oo-Categories

Quotes relevant to doing mathematics

As I Take My Notes (Hiro's translation of the Kodaira quote. Original below.)

To me, there is nothing harder to read than a math book (papers included). To read through a math book of hundreds of pages, from beginning to end, is a Herculean task. When I open a math book, there are first axioms and definitions; then there are theorems and proofs. I know that mathematics is a thing which becomes incredibly easy and clear once you understand it, so I try to read only the theorems and somehow understand. I try to think of proofs on my own. Most of the time, I don't get it even after I think about it. Having no other choice, I try reading the proof in the book. But even after reading it once or twice, I still don't feel like I understand it. So I try copying the proof into my notebook. Then I notice a part of the proof I dislike. I try to think if there must be another proof. It's great if I find one right away, but otherwise it takes a long time until I give up. And if I go about in this way, after a month finally arriving at the end of the first chapter, I forget the content toward the beginning. Having nothing else I can do, I review the chapter from the start again. Then the entire structure of the chapter begins to bother me. I think things like, it seems better to take care of Theorem Seven before proving Theorem Three. So I create another notebook where I reorganize the whole chapter. I finally feel like I understand the first chapter, and I feel at peace, but it's troublesome that it took so terribly long. To get to the last chapter of a book with hundreds of pages is near impossible. I would very much appreciate it if somebody could teach me a quick way to read mathematical texts.


私にとって数学の本(論文も含めて)ほど読みにくいものはない。 数百ページもある数学の本をはじめから終わりまで読み通すことは至難の業である。 数学の本を開いてみると、まずいくつか定義と公理があって、それから定理と証明が書いてある。 数学というものは、わかってしまえば何でもない簡単で明瞭な事柄であるから、定理だけ読んで何とかわかろうと努力する。 証明を自分で考えてみる。 たいていの場合は考えてもわからない。 仕方がないから本に書いてある証明を読んでみる。 しかし一度や二度読んでもなかなかわかったような気がしない。 そこで証明をノートに写してみる。 すると今度は証明の気に入らないところが目につく。 もっと別な証明がありはしないかと考えてみる。 それがすぐに見つかればよいが、そうでないと諦めるまでにだいぶ時間がかかる。 こんな調子で一ヶ月もかかってやっと一章の終わりに達した頃には、初めの方を忘れてしまう。 仕方がないからまた初めから復習する。 そうすると今度は章全体の排列が気になり出す。 定理三よりも定理七を先に証明しておく方がよいのではないか、等と考える。 そこで章全体をまとめ直したノートを作る。 これでやっと第一章がわかった気がして安心するのであるが、それにしてもひどく時間がかかったので困る。 数百ページある本の終章に達するのは時間的にも不可能に近い。 何か数学書を早く読む方法があったら教えて貰いたいと思う。

A quote from Grothendieck

Since then I've had the chance, in the world of mathematics that bid me welcome, to meet quite a number of people, both among my "elders" and among young people in my general age group, who were much more brilliant, much more "gifted" than I was. I admired the facility with which they picked up, as if at play, new ideas, juggling them as if familiar with them from the cradle -- while for myself I felt clumsy, even oafish, wandering painfully up an arduous track, like a dumb ox faced with an amorphous mountain of things that I had to learn (so I was assured), things I felt incapable of understanding the essentials or following through to the end. Indeed, there was little about me that identified the kind of bright student who wins at prestigious competitions or assimilates, almost by sleight of hand, the most forbidding subjects. In fact, most of these comrades who I gauged to be more brilliant than I have gone on to become distinguished mathematicians. Still, from the perspective of 30 or 35 years, I can state that their imprint upon the mathematics of our time has not been very profound. They've all done things, often beautiful things, in a context that was already set out before them, which they had no inclination to disturb. Without being aware of it, they've remained prisoners of those invisible and despotic circles which delimit the universe of a certain milieu in a given era. To have broken these bounds they would have had to rediscover in themselves that capability which was their birth-right, as it was mine: the capacity to be alone.

A quote from G.K. Chesterton

A man must love the thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.

A quote from Maryam Mirzakhani (on her work with Eskin) (Source)

...Even Mirzakhani herself is amazed, in retrospect, that the two stuck with it. “If we knew things would be so complicated, I think we would have given up,” she said. Then she paused. “I don't know; actually, I don't know,” she said. “I don't give up easily.”

Recommended Reading

Here I've compiled a list of good sources for learning about various topics. It's often hard to find the right source to learn from; I hope this list will help you out.

Math Overflow Posts. Here are some Math Overflow posts I found interesting. They will probably give you a good idea of the kinds of things I think about.

More Traditional Resources, by topic:

  • Mathematics and Rigor.
    "Theoretical Mathematics: Toward a Cultural Synthesis of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics."An opinion piece by Arthur Jaffe and Frank Quinn.
    Atiyah et al's response to "Theoretical Mathematics: Toward a Cultural Synthesis of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics."
  • Basic Symplectic Geometry
    Symplectic geometry : an introduction based on the seminar in Bern in 1992. B. Aebischer et al.
    Dynamical Systems IV: Symplectic Geometry and its Applications. Arnol'd et al.
  • Homological Algebra (Abelian categories, triangulated categories, derived categories, derived functors, cohomology.)
    Chapter One of Kashiwara and Shapira, Sheaves on Manifolds
  • Sheaves and Cohomology of Sheaves
    Chapter Two of Kashiwara and Shapira, Sheaves on Manifolds
  • Model Categories
    Dwyer and Spalinski
  • Perturbative Chern-Simons, Chord Diagrams, and Knot Invariants
    Dror Bar-Natan's Thesis
  • Mapping Class Groups
    Farb and Margulis's in-progress book.
  • Basic Algebraic Topology
  • Differential Topology
    Milnor, Topology from a Differentiable Viewpoint
    Guillemin and Pollack (I've heard this is now out of print, but it is still a great book.)
  • The Casson Invariant
    Akbulut and McCarthy, Casson's Invariant for Oriented Homology Three-Spheres: An Exposition
  • Morse Theory
    Milnor, Morse Theory

Notes from Hiro's graduate school days

The table below contains notes prepared by various Northwestern participants of 2012 Simons Center workshop on QFTs. This pre-seminar was organized by Chris Elliott. Oh, and here is a link to the Simons Center Workshop itself. I've also included links to the actual talk and notes from the workshop itself. The notes from the workshop were taken chiefly by Dmitri Pavlov, though some were provided by the speakers themselves.

Chris Elliott, Classical Field Theories and Relativity Notes
Michael Couch, Basics of Super-Symmetric Algebras
Yuan Shen, Super-Symmetric Actions Notes
Jesse Wolfson. Spinors, Dirac Operators, K-Theory Notes by Yuan, Notes by Jesse. Here we have video and notes from the workshop.
Kevin Costello. Twistor spaces in supersymmetry Notes by Yuan
Ian Le. Representations of the Super-Poincare Group Here are the video and notes from the workshop.
Chris Elliott. SUSY Lagrangians and Classical Theories, I. Here are the video and notes from the workshop. Notes by Chris.
Michael Couch. SUSY Lagrangians and Classical Theories, II. Here are the video and notes from the workshop.
Sam Gunningham. Twisting N=2 Super Yang-Mills Here are the video and notes from the workshop.
Yuan Shen. Twisting N=2 Super Yang-Mills Here are the video and notes from the workshop.
Philsang Yoo. Relativistic Quantum Field Theory
Philsang Yoo. Gauge Theory in two dimensions. Here are the video and notes from the workshop.
Hiro Lee Tanaka. Supersymmetric Yang-Mills Theory Here are the video and notes from the workshop. More notes.

Below are some things I wrote up in graduate school for various purposes here and there. Be warned that these were written when I was still a student; some of these notes are still embarrassing.