Journée de Rham 2015


Georges de Rham (1903-1990)


Journée de Rham 2015:

Geometry, Topology, and Randomness


Wednesday, April 22, 2015 

EPFL (auditorium GC C3 30)

Organisers: Victor Panaretos and Marc Troyanov


16:15 - 17:15

Wilfrid S. Kendall (University of Warwick) 



"Buffon Needles, Google Maps, and Friends"


Abstract :  The theory of random lines sits neatly on the boundary between probability and geometry, has a celebrated history (reaching back 300 years into the past to the work of Buffon), and forms a major part of the field of stochastic geometry. I will survey this history, and describe the impact of the theory on a recent investigation into the nature of effective planar transportation networks. Even more recently, this has led to surprising discoveries of some very constructible random maps.


17:15 - 17:45

Coffee break


17:45 - 18:45

Robert J. Adler  (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology) 

"Phase Transitions and Random Topology"


Abstract : Phase transitions are phenomena occurring in large random systems such as water turning to ice or iron magnetization.

Topology (e.g. connectivity) plays an important role in these phase transitions. The consideration of more complex phase transitions has 
recently motivated the study of  large random topological structures undergoing transitions in their homological structure. The results in this area, arising from questions from topological data analysis, lead us to an exciting new area of mathematics, that one might call Random Topology. The aim of the lecture will be to describe these developments, giving examples ranging from the asymptotics of Betti numbers to random Morse theory. I will present the subject in a  friendly, non technical way.
from 19.45 on

Dinner at Gina's Restaurant. If you are interested in participating, please register before April 18 by sending an email to Ms Maroussia Schaffner ( which should also indicate how many people will be attending in case you register as a group/couple. The dinner is partially sponsored by a generous contribution from the CUSO. Thank you.



The Journée Georges de Rham is a yearly colloquium sponsored by the Swiss Doctoral Program in Mathematics (previously known as the IIIe Cycle Romand de Mathématiques). The list of previous speakers can be found here. Georges de Rham (1903-1990) was a famous Swiss mathematician. He was professor at the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva. He was also the first president of the Troisième cycle romand de mathématiques and, last but not least, he was an an accomplished mountain climber. The Journée Georges de Rham traditionally consists of two talks of general  interest to the mathematical community and given by renowned mathematicians.