Welcome, visitor, to the website of the FMF symposium. This is a yearly event which is organised by dedicated members of the FMF, the study association for (applied) mathematics, (applied) physics and astronomy at the University of Groningen.

This year, the theme of the symposium will be ‘’Brilliant Accidents’’. Of course, this theme can be quite broadly interpreted. First of all, we hope to highlight that not all of science is ‘’linear’’. When you read a textbook, the material may be presented as a sequence of ideas, which together form a coherent theory. Each idea should follow logically from the previous one, or should be justified by a clever experiment.

In reality, new science is discovered after going through hundreds of dead ends, and by keeping an open mind, especially when something seems to contradict established principles. Also in Mathematics, the “right” definitions are only found after playing around with many examples, and discovering the underlying patterns.

Moreover, one can think about scientific phenomena which happen (seemingly) at random. Researchers working in accelerator physics are smashing particles into each other at extremely high energies, waiting for an ‘’accident’’ of nature to occur. This is meant to test the limits of our current theories.

Probabilistic models are also becoming increasingly more important. The mathematics of Markov processes can provide excellent simulations of small magnetic systems. Also, if you teach a computer the rules of chess, and make it play against itself, it will start out by making random moves. However, after only a few hours, it will “discover” how to play strategically, and after a few more hours, it will be better than the best human players.

The Symposium will take place on the 21st of November 2019 at the Best Western Hotel Plaza in Groningen. More information about the speakers and about the programme can be found on this website. You can also register on this website. We hope to see many of you at the Symposium.

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The best student symposium I've ever witnessed

prof. Philip Moriarty

It was a really great event to be a part of, and I have to say that it was also one of the best-organised events that I've been involved in for a long time

Benjamin Smith