Professor Cédric Villani meets the French community in Hong Kong (14/4/2016) [fr]
Professor Cedric Villani, famous French mathematician, laureate of the prestigious Fields medal in 2010 (equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Mathematics), was in Hong Kong on the 13th and 14th of April 2016.
Specialist of analysis, he has worked on issues stemming from statistical physics and the optimisation of riemanian geometry. Director at the Institut Poincaré, Professor at the University of Lyon and member of the French Academy of Sciences, he is known to demistify and popularise mathematics so that ‘’Mathematics may shine everywhere’ ! Whatever the audience, we can always find a language in common’’ he is used to say. In order to share his passion for mathematics and to translate his words into actions, Prof Villani visited the Lycée Français International de Hong Kong (LFI), followed by the French bookshop Paranthèses, on Wednesday 14th April.
The visit to LFI began with the exhibition ‘’Mathematics today’’, created by the French Society of Mathematics (SMF)and jointly organised by the Scientific Department of the Consulate and the Centre of Documentation and Information of the LFI.
This exhibition presents six famous contemporary French mathematicians ,of whom Prof. Villani, in an unexpected but suitable setting for each one of the mathematicians’ area of research. This was also done to make the work of each mathematician as visible as possible. (link to the article consulat SMF).
Professor Villani then went on to meet students from year 11 and Year 12 to share with him his passion for mathematics. He firstly traced history of this discipline before going into the details of some of its applications, especially in the framework of the behavioralised study of bats.
Thanks to his unusual language and his vintage and baroque look, ‘’the man with the spider’’ knew how to captivate the students, but also teachers, who flocked to the event to hear the ‘rocker of mathematics’ give his presentation.
He then continued his ‘’democritisation of mathematics’’ tour by heading to the French bookshop ‘’Parenthèses’’ to present his autobiographical novel entitled ‘’Living theorem’’, published in 2012 by éditions Grasset.
The work traces the beginnings of a development in mathematics and the Professor’s research between the years 2008-2010. It is for the pleasure of the readers (but not only), that Prof. Cedric Villani unveiled to the French community his ‘’road trip’’ of scientific mathematicians, from Kyoto to Princeton, from Lyon to Hyderbad, in conquest of the Field medal. All this related by Cedric Villani himself, sat in the famous leather chair, he lacked nothing to conquer the crowd present at the rendez-vous.
Following his presentation and his little anecdotes, Cédric Villani responded to a number of questions from fans before signing readers’ books.
Justin Monier, Scientific Officer in Hong Kong
Julie Metta, Scientific Officer in Hong Kong
Isabelle SAVES, Attaché for Scientific & Academic Affairs