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Mats Gyllenberg: Rock, scissors, paper — what a children's game can tell us about evolution

Mats Gyllenberg, University of Helsinki

Time: Wed 2012-03-14 14.30 - 15.30

Location: Oskar Klein auditorium, Alba Nova

It is a wide spread misconception that evolution optimizes some quantity like "fitness" or reproductive success. In this talk I give a brief introduction to adaptive dynamics, which is a mathematical theory that explicitly takes into account the interaction between population dynamics (ecology) and evolution by natural selection. Using the well-known rock-scissors-paper-game as a metaphor, I give necessary and sufficient conditions for when there is a function which is optimized by natural selection. It turns out that evolutionary optimization is extremely rare and hardly can happen in nature.


13:30-14:15     Precolloquium for PhD and master students
14:30-15:30     Colloquium lecture by Mats Gyllenberg
15:30-16:30     Coffee and SMC social get-together

About the speaker

Mats Gyllenberg was born in Helsinki and studied mathematics and microbiology at the Helsinki University of Technology from which he received his Doctorate of Technology. In 1989, at the age of 33, he was appointed professor of Applied Mathematics at Luleå University of Technology. He was professor at Univeristy of Turku from 1992 to 2004, when he was asked to take up a chair at the University of Helsinki. Since 2008 he has been Head of Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Helsinki.

Mats Gyllenberg was a visiting researcher at Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam in 1984-1985 and a visiting professor at Vanderbildt Univeristy in Nashville, Tennessee in 1985-1986, at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, California in 1996, at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg in 1998, at the University of Utrecht in 1997 and 2007. In 2006 he held the F.C. Donders Visiting Chair of Mathematics at the University of Utrecht.

Mats Gyllenberg is a very prolific mathematician who has published two books and more than 200 journal papers. He has very broad interests ranging from pure mathematics (in particular functional analysis), stochastic processes, ordinary differential equations to applications in biology and medicine.

Mats Gyllenberg is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Mathematical Biology and Differential and Integral Equations and a member of the Editorial Board of a number of journals. He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland, and European Academy of Sciences.

Mats Gyllenberg is an excellent teacher and lecturer and popularizer of mathematics. He is often asked to give studia generalia lectures at universities and public lectures at science museums, art galleries and cultural festivals.

Outside academia Mats Gyllenberg's main interests are cooking (mainly French cuisine) on a daily basis and not only for special occasions, and fine wine. His cellar contains 650 bottles of mainly Claret and Burgundy.

Title Date
Hendrik Lenstra: Escher and the Droste effect Dec 12, 2012
Bo Berndtsson: Complex Brunn-Minkowski theory Nov 21, 2012
Martin Aigner: From Irrational Numbers to Perfect Matchings: 100 Years of Markov’s Uniqueness Problem Oct 10, 2012
Vladimir Rokhlin: Accurate Randomized Algorithms of Numerical Analysis May 19, 2012
Martin R. Bridson: Discrete groups: A story of geometry, complexity, and imposters Apr 11, 2012
Mats Gyllenberg: Rock, scissors, paper — what a children's game can tell us about evolution Mar 14, 2012
Persi Diaconis: Who Needs Positivity? Feb 10, 2012