Defy chance for the Mathematics Week

Changed on 03/02/2020
Mathematics Week took place from 11 to 19 March with the theme "Let's play mathematics together".
As part of a collaboration between Inria and the Lycée Français International de Vientiane in Laos, high school students from 1st and Terminale S were able to attend a conference on the theme of chance presented by Thierry Viéville (Inria Research Director).
Illustration hasard
Riho Kroll, CC0 via Unsplash

Meeting with the main actors of this collaboration: Marie-Christine Bonnard (Teacher at Vientiane High School), Thierry Viéville (Inria Research Director) and David Fayen (Mathematics Professor at Vientiane High School)

Marie-Christine Bonnard, how did this idea of collaboration between the Lycée and Inria come about?

Before teaching here in Laos, I was stationed at the Lycée International de Valbonne and I collaborated a lot with Inria for conferences, and especially for the C2+ Maths internship. Enchanted by this partnership, when I knew I was going to Laos, I talked to my contacts in Sophia Antipolis, Martine Olivi and Valérie François, mediation officers at Inria and we thought it would be great if we could continue to collaborate despite the distance! When I arrived there, I talked to my colleagues about it. The scientific fabric here in Laos being more than poor, the opportunity for such an exchange with researchers in France is precious.

Thierry Viéville, why did you choose the theme of chance for this conference ?

Chance is a notion that is both very natural in some aspects (everyone understands that if you throw a coin in the air you don't know for sure that it will fall back but that on average it will be fairly flipped) but completely confusing in others (the so-called law of series where you think you see an order, where only chance is involved). If you want to go deeper into the subject, I invite you to read the article in the journal Interstices : "Pourquoi ne pas confier au hasard ce qui est trop compliqué à estimer ?" - Only in French

David Fayen, what do you learn from this experience? 

A very good exchange between the students and Thierry, some wanted to question him later. The theme chosen was perfectly adapted to the level of the students. The part devoted to artificial intelligence gave rise to numerous questions the next day.