Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

SF Presidential Lecture: When Reason Produces Monsters While It Is Wide Awake

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium/2-GDFA (160 5th Avenue)

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium/2-GDFA

160 5th Avenue


“I turn with terror and horror from this lamentable scourge.” Henri Poincare uttered this sentence in response to Karl Weierstrass’ famous example of a continuous curve that has no tangent at any point.

In this lecture Camillo De Lellis will argue that this terrifying curve is just the first of a long series of counterintuitive mathematical objects that all share common aspects. In particular, they all result from piling up ‘appropriate waves’ at smaller and smaller scales in a suitable way. He will touch upon famous constructions of John Nash and Stephen Smale in the ’50s and ’60s, celebrated subsequent works of Mikhael Gromov, and relatively recent discoveries pertaining to the most basic equations in incompressible fluid dynamics.  

Speaker Bio:

De Lellis is the IBM von Neumann professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is known for his works in the theory of partial differential equations, particularly in the calculus of variations and the equations of incompressible fluid dynamics. He was a plenary speaker at the 2022 International Congress of Mathematicians and the recipient of the 2013 Fermat Prize, the 2020 Bôcher Memorial Prize, and the 2022 Maryam Mirzakhani Prize in Mathematics. 

Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)
Lecture: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)