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How physics and mathematics profit from randomness

Published on 3. Dezember 2019, 13:56 h
15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research

What are the characteristic features of randomness? Mathematicians and physicists are working together to explore this issue at the 15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop on ‘Random matrix theory and applications’ from 5 to 7 December. Random matrices are arrangements of numbers in the form of tables whose values are selected at random. They help to solve major mathematical problems or to better understand physical systems. The workshop is being financed by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) and the Collaborative Research Centre ‘Taming uncertainty and profiting from randomness and low regularity in analysis, stochastics and their applications’ (CRC 1283). Professor Dr Gernot Akemann from the Faculty of Physics at Bielefeld University is organizing the workshop together with scientists from Brunel University and Imperial College London (Great Britain). 

Prof. Dr. Gernot Akemann is the organizer of the 15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop. Photo: Bielefeld University/A. Polina
Prof. Dr. Gernot Akemann is the organizer of the 15th Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop. Photo: Bielefeld University/A. Polina
‘Random matrix theory is relevant in both and physics,’ says Akemann. For example, its application is important for the Riemann hypothesis—for over a hundred years, one of the most significant problems that has still not been solved in mathematics. Physicists use random matrix theory to understand chaotic quantum systems or areas of statistical mechanics. ‘The idea behind random matrix theory is to look at randomly filled matrices and compute their characteristic spectrum,’ according to Akemann. ‘Frequently, these cannot be computed in applications. Then you can resort to random matrices.’ 

Every year since 2005, the Brunel–Bielefeld Workshop has been held at either Bielefeld University or Brunel University London. This year, approximately 70 participants are expected to attend. ‘The workshop grants researchers from various disciplines at universities both within Europe and beyond the chance to exchange ideas, and it is particularly important for young scientists who can present their work there,’ says Akemann. A poster session on Thursday will be followed by papers from international researchers on both Friday and Saturday. 

Although the ZiF is providing most of the funding for the workshop, the CRC ‘Taming uncertainty and profiting from randomness and low regularity in analysis, stochastics and their applications’ is also contributing. The CRC is receiving 2.5 million euro a year from the German Research Foundation until 2021.

Further information:
• Conference website 
SFB 1283 website
Posted by HMetzen in General
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