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Science and Mathematics

Making Sense of Disordered Systems: What if Euclid, Newton, and Maxwell Did Probability?

December 6, 2021 at 4:00pm5:00pm EST

Virtual (See event details)

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The Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences is honored to welcome Dr. Erik Bates to deliver the weekly colloquium.

Dr. Bates is an NSF postdoc and Van Vleck visiting assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he works in probability, particularly its intersections with statistical mechanics, mathematical physics, analysis, and combinatorics.

Abstract: Disordered systems are mathematical models (typically of the physical world) that are governed by random variables.  These models have offered insights into a diverse array of research problems, and have also brought about a great number of powerful mathematical tools.  The through line to the subject is the essential role played by probability theory, a relatively modern invention.  By inserting random variables into classical models of physics, one finds new capacities for understanding the natural world.  This talk will provide vignettes of three such models: disordered geometry, disordered motion, and disordered magnetism. Our tour of disordered systems will introduce some recurring technical themes such as Gibbs measures and variational formulas, which animate—for us mathematicians—this rich and exciting subject.

This talk is based on joint works with Sourav Chatterjee, Shirshendu Ganguly, Alan Hammond, Leila Sloman, and Youngtak Sohn.

Contact Leah Quinones at for zoom link

This event was published on December 1, 2021.

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