Speaker: Xenia de la Ossa
Affiliation: Oxford University (UK)


Xenia is a remarkable example of how mathematical physicists working in the field of string theory have influenced the development of research in various branches of geometry in the last decades. Xenia has made foundational contributions to the study of string theory compactifications and was one of the pioneers of mirror symmetry and the study of Calabi-Yau manifolds, both in physics and mathematics. Her results made possible the discovery of new techniques to make precise enumerative predictions in algebraic geometry, which has recently also found application in the study of black holes. She has been one of the leading international figures in progress in heterotic string theory and its mathematical aspects.

Xenia has also played an important role as an international ambassador of women in mathematics and theoretical physics as well as the promotion of these areas in Latin America.


I will give a historical introduction to counting rational curves in Calabi-Yau manifolds. Specifically, I will explain how these where originally computed in an example using mirror symmetry and arguments coming from string theory.

About Maths Colloquium

The Mathematics Colloquium is directed at students and academics working in the fields of pure and applied mathematics, and statistics. 

We aim to present expository lectures that appeal to our wide audience.

Information for speakers

Information for speakers

Maths colloquia are usually held on Mondays, from 2pm to 3pm, in various locations at St Lucia.

Presentations are 50 minutes, plus five minutes for questions and discussion.

Available facilities include:

  • computer 
  • data projector
  • chalkboard or whiteboard

To avoid technical difficulties on the day, please contact us in advance of your presentation to discuss your requirements.