Math Meets Politics: Meet French Legislator/Mathematician Cédric Villani
June 21, 2017, 09:58 AM
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The intersection set of mathpolitics is rather small, and has a French flavor. Napoleon got a theorem named after him, although there's some doubt that he really deserves the credit for it. Raymond Poincaré, who was President of France's Third Republic during WW1, was a first cousin of the great mathematician Henri Poincaré … There is a handful of other instances. (Not all French: Sir Isaac Newton was a Member of Parliament, though not a very active one.)

Well, the recent parliamentary elections in France have given us another one. Cédric Villani, who won the Fields Medal (math equivalent of a Nobel Prize) in 2010 for his "proofs of nonlinear Landau damping and convergence to equilibrium for the Boltzmann equation," was elected to represent a constituency south of Paris for Emmanuel Macron's new En Marche! party.

Villani is something of a stage Frenchman: see him perform at a TED talk here. He is sartorially distinctive:

His shoulder-length hair was parted almost symmetrically down the middle, and he wore his usual ensemble: a three-piece pin-striped black suit, a silver pocket watch and chain, a peacock-green cravat (purchased at a costume store for actors), an overstuffed backpack, and, pinned to his lapel like a biological specimen, a custom-made spider brooch. [The Lady Gaga of French mathematics comes stateside by Thomas Lin; The New Yorker, April 14th 2015.]
(In case that's got you wondering, the Daily Telegraph reported in 2015 that: "Villani lives in the Parisian suburbs with his wife, Claire, 40, a biologist, and their two children.")