Two of the world’s leading mathematicians come together for a conversation to explore mathematics and topology. Sir Michael Atiyah and Cédric Villani are recipients of the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, which is generally considered the greatest honour a mathematician can receive. Their conversation follows a screening of Au Bonheur des Maths; a film by Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret, commissioned by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris for their seminal exhibition Mathematics, A Beautiful Elsewhere. The film simply yet powerfully portrays nine mathematicians (including Atiyah and Villani) who explain their passion for mathematics. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (CNRS Research Director and Director of IHÉS), Michel Cassé (astrophysicist, CEA Research Director and Associate Researcher at IAP) and Hervé Chandès (General Director of the Fondation Cartier), curators of Mathematics, A Beautiful Elsewhere, will introduce the debate by presenting the exhibition project.
Sir Michael Atiyah
has made fundamental contributions to many areas of mathematics, but especially to topology, geometry and analysis. From his first major contribution – topological K-theory – to his more recent work on quantum field theory, Atiyah has been a great influence on the development of new theoretical tools and supplied far-reaching insights. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966, the Copley Medal in 1988, and the Abel Prize in 2004.
his main research interests are in kinetic theory (especially Boltzmann equation and its variants) and ‘optimal transport’ and its applications. He has said of his mathematical heroes that ‘All of them have been very innovative in applying mathematics to another scientific field in which this had not been done before (be it a part of physics, economics or biology), and they all tried hard to understand the world by the study of mathematical equations.’ He is professor of mathematics at the University of Lyon and director of the Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010.
Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret
are filmmakers who have participated in many exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier. Claudine Nougaret is a sound engineer and film producer. Raymond Depardon is a photographer as well as a filmmaker. They have worked together for 25 years, using sound and image to create a simple, unique style with a manifest desire to show us the state of society as it is. In 2012, their latest film, Journal de France, is presented at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the official Selection.