Professor of Mathematics, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich,
Breaking the Wall of Randomness. How Random Phenomena Disseminate.
Could it be that there is order in ran- domness? When we observe random phenomena in our lives we often suspect that there is some key that may unlock them – this is not only one of the founda- tions of superstition, but also a motivation for mathematicians. Wendelin Werner (1968) analyses the large scale behavior of random systems such as random walks, the mathematical formalisation of a trajectory that consists of taking successive random steps. The path traced by a molecule as it travels, the financial status of a gambler or the propagation of a disease can all be modeled thanks to random walks – thus making Wendelin Werner’s intricate mathematical analysis applicable to a wide range of fields, from physics to epidemiology. For his work, Wendelin Werner was hon- oured with the Fields Medal, one of the few awards in science that can claim to be even more exclusive than the Nobel Prize.