Vares: Revisiting the contact process at (WM)²

July 31, 2018, 5:22 pm

Vares: Revisiting the contact process at (WM)²

Brazilian mathematical statistician and probability theorist, Maria Eulália Vares from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University (UFRJ), addressed a large gathering of international female mathematicians in Riocentro this afternoon, at the 1st World Meeting for Women in Mathematics (WM)², a satellite event on the eve of ICM 2018, which officially begins tomorrow.

Vares introduced a new take on classic contact theory during her keynote address this afternoon. Rather than focussing on the classical model of infection and disease prognosis, as introduced in 1974 by T. Harris, her research points to the value of percolation during the investigation of phase transition. In her joint work with colleagues L.R. Fontes, D. Marchetti, and T. Mountford, on renewal contact processes, it is suggested that the process is not without memory, as would be be understood by the Markow process.

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Mathematics professor Yolanda Silvia Santiago Ayala travelled from Lima, Peru to attend (WM)² and ICM 2018. She highlighted the importance of women in mathematics and women in science standing together, in order to make a difference. “If we remain silent, we will never be heard. We cannot accept being left behind. We must mark our presence at events like this.” While she has noted some improvements in the gender balance at her university, she acknowledges that they still have a long way to go.

In Peru, resistance can be met at all levels, she said. “In order to participate in an important event like this, what you meet are closed doors. It’s difficult, but we cannot remain behind closed doors. We have an obligation to mark our presence, gently.”