September 5 
Kristin Courtney, UVaNilpotent approximations of universal operators and some conjecturesBecause of its elegance and utility, von Neumann's inequality has become canon in operator theory, and its extensions to various contexts are still the subject of a wide range of research. The inequality says that, given any polynomial p in one variable, the maximal norm of the operator p(T), as T ranges over all contractive Hilbert space operators, can be determined by considering only contractive operators on a one dimensional Hilbert space, i.e. elements of the unit disk in the complex plane.Using universal C*algebras, one can readily show a von Neumanntype inequality for noncommutative *polynomials, which says that, given a noncommutative *polynomial q, the maximal norm of the operator q(T), as T ranges over contractive Hilbert space operators, can be determined by considering only contractive operators on finitedimensional Hilbert spaces, i.e. matrices of norm at most 1. Our first goal in this talk is to show why it actually suffices to consider only nilpotent matrices of norm at most 1. Moving to polynomials in two variables, von Neumann's inequality notably extends when the argument ranges over pairs of commuting contractive Hilbert space operators. Can we again look to matrices for a bound for the norm of any noncommutative *polynomial in two variables whose inputs are two doubly commuting contractive operators? Does it suffice to consider only nilpotent matrices? Surely these questions are not too difficult, are they? 
September 12 
Brian Lins, HampdenSydney CollegeThe Illumination Conjecture and fixed points of nonexpansive mapsThe Illumination Conjecture is a famous unsolved conjecture in combinatorial geometry. It predicts that the surface of any convex body in R^{n} can be completely illuminated by 2^{n} floodlights. Surprisingly, it has not been proven, even in 3dimensions! This talk will focus on a new connection between this famous conjecture and the fixed points of nonexpansive maps in finite dimensional normed spaces. 
September 19 
no meeting 
September 26 
no meeting 
October 3 
READING DAY (no meeting) 
October 10 
Ben Hayes, UVa 
October 17 
Ben Hayes, UVa 
October 24 
Geoff Price, US Naval AcademyThe Virginia Operator Theory and Complex Analysis Meeting (VOTCAM) will be held at UVa on Saturday October 28. Website 
October 31 
maybe too spooky for a meeting 
November 7 

November 14 

November 21 
Last day before Thanksgiving break (probably no meeting) 
November 28 

December 5 