A Chaotic Afternoon with Ettiene Ghys – guest lecture and film event.

We’re really pleased to be hosting  A Chaotic Afternoon with Ettiene Ghys on Thursday 20 March.

Etienne Ghys is a distinguished French mathematician who is also interested in the popularization of mathematics, especially chaos theory.

The programme will have two parts:  a somewhat technical lecture, assuming that the audience knows what differential equations are, and a showing of a film on chaos theory produced by Ghys, which will be accessible to the layman.

Both parts of the afternoon, technical lecture (part1) and film/talk (part2), are open to the public and can be booked via the separate Eventbrite links (see below). If you wish to attend both parts please make 2 separate bookings.

1-3pm – Part 1:  A brief history of dynamics

According to Y. Ilyashenko, there are three main steps in the history of dynamical systems.

  1. Newton : Given a differential equation, find its solutions
  2. Poincaré : Given a differential equation, say something about its solutions
  3. Smale : A differential equation is NOT given : say something about its solutions!

The goal of Etienne Ghys, in this talk, is to explain this joke. This will be an opportunity to discuss some fundamental examples like periodic motions, quasi-periodic motions, Smale’s horseshoe and the famous Lorenz butterfly, paradigmatic of chaos. More importantly, he will try to describe some of the current conjectures. Unfortunately, one has to admit that this story, since Newton, is nothing more than a succession of conjectures by great mathematicians, shown to be wrong by their successors. Nevertheless, Ghys believes that we do understand the situation better than Newton!

For more information, see this article in English or in French:

Tickets for this lecture are available via Eventbrite

3-4pm – Tea/coffee break


4:00-5.30pm – Part 2: A brief cinematic history of dynamics for the layman

In 2013 Jos Leys, Aurélien Alvarez and Etienne Ghys produced a film on chaos theory, for the layman. Basically, this film tells the story of dynamics from Newton to current research, explained in an elementary way. The total length of the film is about two hours, so that it wouldn’t be reasonable to show it from A to Z. Instead, Etienne Ghys will show some extracts, to explain the ‘making of‘, and discuss it with the audience. The complete film can be downloaded here: http://www.chaos-math.org/en

Tickets for this film/talk are available via Eventbrite

This event is a Scottish Topology Seminar
Organiser: Andrew Ranicki, a.ranicki@ed.ac.uk
The Scottish Topology Seminar is supported by the Glasgow Mathematical Journal Trust.


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