Public lectures feature specialists in math popularization

July 30, 2018, 11:18 am

Public lectures feature specialists in math popularization

Inspiring mathematicians will give public lectures at the Popularization of Mathematics Cycle offered by two top Brazilian research institutes, the National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA) and the Serrapilheira Institute. The activity, involving masters in the art of illustrating the importance of mathematics and how it impact daily life, is part of the official program of the International Mathematical Congress (ICM), happening from August 1st – 9th, at Riocentro in Rio de Janeiro.

Held every four years, the ICM is a unique opportunity for researchers from all over the world to exchange ideas on the latest advances in the field, a complex area of knowledge that becomes even more valuable when it goes beyond its specialized public.

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A program was developed and coordinated by Marcelo Viana, director-general of IMPA, in cooperation with the Serrapilheira Institute, created in 2017 to support research projects and scientific dissemination in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering and Computer, Earth and Life Sciences.

People of all ages and interests will have an opportunity to participate in the series of free lectures during the world’s most important mathematics event, which has been mobilizing the mathematical community since 1897.

Remarkable mathematicians

IMPA-Serrapilheira Cycle speakers will show a diverse and surprising side of mathematics from August 2nd to 8th at ICM. For example, Frenchman Cédric Villani of the renowned Institut Henri Poincaré de Paris, and currently a congressman in France’s National Assembly will present to the general public during the international mathematician meet-up. Despite his busy schedule, Villani mobilizes global audiences with inspirational stories about mathematics. With a curious 19th-century-inspired sense of style, the 2010 Fields Medal winner commands the attention of the public with stories about his research.

James B Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University, Ingrid Daubechies, breaks from convention to show connections between mathematics and other areas of knowledge, such as poetry. The first woman to chair the International Mathematical Union (IMU) between 2011 and 2014, Daubechies was on faculty in the Department of Mathematics at Princeton University (one of the world’s leading research centers in the field) for 16 years. The Belgian mathematician has won several awards for her research on wavelets, a mathematical concept behind numerous applications, especially high-definition broadcasts.

Étienne Ghys also values the importance of spreading mathematics and does so with mastery. Responsible for Lyon’s Pure and Applied Mathematics Unit in France, he combines his dedication to abstract concepts with the popularization of the field. The Frenchman he has scripted and directed an animation series that explains the Fourth Dimension and Chaos Theory to children. It comes as no surprise that the Clay Institute recently awarded him for his initiatives as a communicator.

A professor of the New University of Lisbon, Rogério Martinscan be seen on Portuguese TV cycling through the streets, hanging onto iron bars like a skilled gymnast, and going above and beyond in order to show the lay public how mathematics is present in life’s everyday situations. His television show ‘Isto é Matemática” (This is Mathematics) is promoted by the Portuguese Society of Mathematics.

The IMPA-Serrapilheira Cycle will show how the presence of mathematical concepts in ingenious toys, such as those invented by Japanese Tadashi Tokieda. A Professor of mathematical physics at Stanford University, Tokieda has an unusual trajectory. Before becoming a researcher in the field, he devoted himself to painting and philology. He has lived in six countries, discovering and teaching the wonders of Mathematics.


Lecture 1: Etienne Ghys(ENS Lyon, France)
Pavilion 5 of Riocentro, August 2nd| 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Title: The geometry of snowflakes

Étienne Ghys

Lecture 2: Ingrid Daubechies(Duke University, USA)
Pavilion 3 of Riocentro, August 3rd| 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Title: Mathematicians assisting curators and art historians

Lecture 3: Cédric Villani(IHP, France)
Pavilion 3 of Riocentro, August 6th| 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Title: The Age of the Earth: When the Earth Was Too Young for Darwin

Cédric Villani

Lecture 4: Tadashi Tokieda(Stanford University, USA)
Pavilion 3 of Riocentro, August 7th| 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Title: Toys model – small mathematics in a big world –

Tadashi Tokieda

Lecture 5: Rogério Martins(New University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Pavilion 3 of Riocentro, August 8th| 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Title: Why can’t we see beyond the three dimensions?

Rogério Martins