Professor Marta Mazzocco PhD FIMA

Professor Marta Mazzocco

School of Mathematics
Professor of Mathematics
Head of Pure Mathematics

Contact details

Address
School of Mathematics
Watson building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Mazzocco is a specialist in the area of integrable systems, namely mathematical problems often motivated by Mathematical Physics that present unexpected beauty - a serendipity of geometric/algebraic/analytical structures that make a very complicated problem solvable in some sense. Her research brings geometry, quantum algebra and analysis together to describe and tackle problems which have so far resisted all other methods. 

Professor Mazzocco has an outstanding record in attracting external funding. In 2003, she obtained an EPSRC First Grant while still on a temporary job; according to the EPSRC administrators, this is very rare, if not the unique case they know of. In 2006, she was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship for 5 years, then in 2008, 2011, 2017 three further major EPSRC research grants.

Professor Mazzocco is a keen advocate of the importance of basic research and its role in society. She believes that in the current funding landscape that emphasises socio-economic impact, it is paramount to nurture interdisciplinary research as well as to raise the profile of the unique contribution that basic research (and in particular Mathematical Sciences) brings to the overall research base, the economy and society - this has driven her to become a member of the Council of the European Mathematical Society; of the Institute of Mathematics and Applications Research Committee; and of the London Mathematical Society Nominating Committee.  

Professor Mazzocco is also a passionate in promoting Equality and Diversity initiatives both within her own University and internationally. In her previous position at Loughborough University she has successfully led her department to win an Athena SWAN silver award (one of only 5 mathematics departments in the UK to have achieved this), and has acted as director of Equality and Diversity for the School of Science.

Qualifications

  • French qualification to apply for full professorships in pure and applied mathematics, 2004
  • PhD in Mathematical Physics, SISSA, International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy, 1998
  • Laurea in Mathematical Physics (equivalent to MPhil), University of Padova, Italy, 1994

Biography

After graduating with the highest honours (cum laude) in Theoretical Physics at the University of Padova, in 1998 Professor Mazzocco took a PhD in Mathematical Physics at the International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA, Trieste) one of the two most famous PhD schools in Italy. She then moved to Berkeley where she was a post doc at MSRI and to Oxford where she was an EPSRC funded RA under the supervision of Professor Hitchin for three years. In 2002 she was appointed as temporary University Lecturer in DPMMS, Cambridge University, and three years after as lecturer in Applied Mathematics at the University of Manchester. In 2008 she accepted a readership at Loughborough University, where she was promoted to a personal chair in 2014. In February 2018 she was appointed as Professor of Mathematics at UoB.

Teaching

Semester 1

LI/LH Linear Algebra and Linear Programming

Research

Research Activity

Professor Mazzocco's field of research is Integrable Systems, an area of research strength in the UK that falls within the EPSRC remit of Intradisciplinary Research in Mathematical Sciences and has strong links to Theoretical Physics. In particular her interests include special functions, combinatorial aspects of Teichmüller theory and quantisation, Cherednik algebras, cluster algebras and applications of random matrix models.

At the start of her research career, Professor Mazzocco focused on the theory of the Painlevé differential equations and their generalisations - non linear ODEs whose solutions are so famous that a chapter has been dedicated to them in the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (replacement edition of the famous handbook of special functions by Abramowitz and Stegun), in which many of Professor Mazzocco’s contributions are quoted.

Jointly with Dubrovin, Mazzocco proposed a method to classify the algebraic solutions of a special case of the sixth Painlevé (PVI) equation, a problem that was open for a hundred years (Inv. Math. 141 and Math. Ann. 321). This method consists in describing the procedure of analytic continuation of the solutions to PVI by a certain action of the braid group. She then extended this method to the general PVI to classify all rational solutions (J. Phys. A. 34).

Another major open problem in the area of Painlevé equations is to find new Painlevé–type equations of higher order. Dr Mazzocco attacked this problem (Int. Math. Res. Not. 2002), and with Dubrovin discovered new higher order analogues as Hamiltonian reductions of high dimensional monodromy preserving deformations (Comm. Math. Phys. 271).

Due to the key observation that the same Poisson structure with the same action of the braid group appears both in the description of the analytic continuation of solutions of monodromy pre- serving deformations equations and in the action of the mapping class group on the Teichmüller space of a non–compact Riemann surface, Professor Mazzocco started to work in (quantum)Teichmüller theory from 2008. She successfully applied to EPSRC for an Advanced Research Fellowship on this theme and for two further research grants to attract to the UK her collaborator, Prof. Leonid Chekhov from Steklov Institute, with whom she published several results to this area. These include the quantisation of the monodromy manifold of PVI and of the braid group action on it (J. Phys. A, 43), the discovery that the affinisation of the algebra of geodesic functions on certain non-compact Riemann surfaces is in fact the semi-classical limit of a quantum group, the twisted q–Yangian for the orthogonal Lie algebra discovered by Molev, Ragoucy and Sorba (Adv. Math. 226 and Russ. Math. Surv., 64) and the introduction of a completely new quantum algebra structure with a complete characterisation of its central elements and of the action of the braid group on it, solving an open problem proposed by Molev et al. (Comm. Math. Phys. 332).

Recently, Professor Mazzocco started to be interested in the monodromy manifolds of the Painlevé equations from a more algebraic point of view. She discovered that the quantisation of such manifolds leads to special degenerations of the Askey-Wilson algebra which regulate the q-Askey polynomials (Nonlinearity 29) . This work has led the way to several important new discoveries:

  • She proposed a representation-theoretic approach to the theory of the Painelvé equations by showing that the Cherednik algebra of type Cˇ1C1 appears naturally as quantisation of the group algebra of the monodromy group associated to the PVI equation and that the action of the braid group discussed above corresponds to the automorphims of the Cherednik algebra (to appear in Adv. Pure Math., 2018).
  • With L. Chekhov she introduced the notion of bordered cusp in a Riemann surface and found that generalised cluster algebras appear naturally in the Teichmüller theory of non-compact Riemann surfaces with bordered cusps. These bordered cusps arise naturally from colliding two boundary components or two sides of the same boundary component in a non-compact Riemann surface (Nonlinearity 31, 2017). 
  • In collaboration with L. Chekhov and V. Rubtsov, she introduced the concept of decorated character variety and showed that on the level of monodromy manifolds the confluence of the Painlevé differential equations corresponds to colliding two boundary components or two sides of the same boundary component in a Riemann sphere so that their monodromy manifolds arise as Poisson sub-algebras of the cluster algebra structure naturally defined on the character variety (Int. Math. Res. Not. 2016). 

Her current research draws ideas from representation theory, geometry and topology, differential and q-difference equations and Poisson algebra to establish a new link between cluster algebra theory
and the theory of Macdonald polynomials, a remarkable family of multi-variable q--orthogonal polynomials associated with affine root systems. The ultimate target of her current research is to construct a quantum cluster algebra for each affine root system such that its representation theory involves the corresponding Macdonald polynomials.

Other activities

Member of the Council of the European Mathematical Society

Member of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications research Committee

Member of Senate at UoB

 

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Mazzocco, M, Chekhov, L & Rubtsov, V 2021, 'Quantised Painlevé monodromy manifolds, Sklyanin and Calabi-Yau algebras', Advances in Mathematics, vol. 376, 107442. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aim.2020.107442

Bobrova, I & Mazzocco, M 2021, 'The sigma form of the second Painlevé hierarchy', Journal of Geometry and Physics, vol. 166, 104271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomphys.2021.104271

Mazzocco, M 2020, 'Stokes Phenomenon Arising in the Confluence of the Gauss Hypergeometric Equation', Springer Proceedings in Mathematics and Statistics. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57000-2_7

Chekhov, L & Mazzocco, M 2018, 'Colliding holes in Riemann surfaces and quantum cluster algebras', Nonlinearity, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 54–107. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6544/aa9729

Mazzocco, M & Koornwinder, T 2018, 'Dualities in the q‐Askey Scheme and degenerate DAHA', Studies in Applied Mathematics. https://doi.org/10.1111/sapm.12229

Calligaris, P & Mazzocco, M 2018, 'Finite orbits of the pure braid group on the monodromy of the 2-variable Garnier system', Journal of Integrable Systems, vol. 3, pp. 1-35. https://doi.org/10.1093/integr/xyy005

Chekhov, L & Mazzocco, M 2018, 'On a Poisson homogeneous space of bilinear forms with a Poisson–Lie action', Russian Mathematical Surveys, vol. 72, no. 6, pp. 1109-1156. https://doi.org/10.1070/RM9802

Chekhov, L, Mazzocco, M & Rubtsov, V 2017, 'Painlevé monodromy manifolds, decorated character varieties, and cluster algebras', International Mathematics Research Notices, vol. 2017, no. 24, pp. 7639–7691. https://doi.org/10.1093/imrn/rnw219

Mazzocco, M 2016, 'Confluences of the Painlevé equations, Cherednik algebras and q-Askey scheme', Nonlinearity, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 2565–2608. https://doi.org/10.1088/0951-7715/29/9/2565

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Mazzocco, M, Chekhov, L & Rubtsov, V 2018, Algebras of quantum monodromy data and character varieties. in A Festschrift in honour of Nigel Hitchin. https://doi.org/978-0-19-880201-3; 978-0-19-880200-6

Preprint

Gaiur, I, Mazzocco, M & Rubtsov, V 2021 'Isomonodromic deformations: confluence, reduction and quantisation'. <https://arxiv.org/abs/2106.13760>

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