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Asymptotics beyond all orders: the devil's invention?

UL MACSI and Maths and Stats Seminar - Wed 16th Nov (2pm in A2-002)

The department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Limerick invites you to a seminar by Prof. Jon Chapman (University of Oxford):

Title: Asymptotics beyond all orders: the devil's invention?

Abstract: “Divergent series are the invention of the devil, and it is shameful to base on them any demonstration whatsoever.” --- N. H. Abel.

The lecture will introduce the concept of an asymptotic series, showing how useful divergent series can be, despite Abel's reservations. We will then discuss Stokes’ phenomenon, whereby the coefficients in the series appear to change discontinuously. We will show how understanding Stokes phenomenon is the key which allows us to determine the qualitative and quantitative behaviour of the solution in many practical problems. Examples will be drawn from the areas of surface waves on fluids, crystal growth, dislocation dynamics, localised pattern formation, and Hele-Shaw flow.

This seminar will take place on Wednesday, November 16, at 2pm, in A2-002 (note the special date and time).

If you have any questions regarding this seminar, please direct them to Iain Moyles (061 233726,

 A full list of upcoming seminars can be found at

Supported by Science Foundation Ireland funding, MACSI - the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (, centred at the University of Limerick, is dedicated to the mathematical modelling and solution of problems which arise in science, engineering and industry in Ireland.