Globe Event | Lecture by Cédric Villani | 21 May

La naissance des idées - réflexions sur la nature et l’histoire de la mathématique et de la physique, by Cédric Villani.


Globe de la science et de l'innovation
Route de Meyrin, 1211 Genève
Tuesday 21 May 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
The lecture will be in French - Interpreting available in English


Cédric Villani.

In this lecture, Cédric Villani will explain what he considers to be the necessary “ingredients” for the birth of new ideas. Clearly a good brain is an essential factor, but that alone is not enough. The researcher must also have access to a wealth of literature, which is now greatly facilitated by the Internet. Motivation is another key component, although we do not really understand what incites it. Intellectual environment and constraints also drive creativity, as do perseverance and chance. An interesting idea has little chance of making a breakthrough without a combination of intuition and hard work and without many false starts.

In this connection, he quotes Henri Poincaré’s view that “thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but this flash is everything."

To illustrate his ideas, Villani will reflect on the nature and history of mathematics and physics during his lecture.

Cédric Villani is a world-renowned mathematician, a pre-eminent specialist in equations in the kinetic theory of gases and plasmas and in optimal transportation. In 2010, he received the Fields Medal, which is the most prestigious award in mathematics. Between 2000 and 2009, he held professorial posts at Atlanta, Berkeley, Princeton and the École normale supérieure de Lyon and is currently a professor at the Université de Lyon and the director of the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris. In 2012, he published a book entitled "Théorème vivant". As a populariser of science, Villani draws on his enthusiasm and humour to convey his passion for his subject.

This evening is organised by the Groupement des français du CERN (GFC) and forms part of the year’s programme of events for the general public that CERN makes available in the Globe.

» No specialist knowledge required
» Suitable for all audiences - Entrance free
» Limited number of seats - registration is essential
» Reservation: +41 22 767 76 76 ou

by Globe Info