San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
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.
1-3pm : 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!
The subsequent event (Part 2) can be booked via eventbrite (https://chaospart2.eventbrite.co.uk)
This event is a Scottish Topology Seminar