Beyond the Gaussian Universality Class

Free Public Lecture

Beyond the Gaussian Universality Class

Evan Williams Theatre
Peter Hall
Monash Road


More information

T: 83443173

The bell curve (or Gaussian distribution) is ubiquitous across science, mathematics, statistics and social sciences. It naturally describes variations due to many roughly independent and similarly small random effects. For example, variations in the number of heads in repeated coin flips are described by the bell curve. This "Gaussian universality class" is not all encompassing. For instance, the random variations in the flow of traffic, growth of bacteria on a petri dish, or covariances of large data sets are not well described by the bell curve. In this talk, we will describe how quite surprisingly these three types of systems (plus a few more) all show the same type of variations -- the so called "Kardar–Parisi–Zhang universality class". This talk will be aimed at a very general audience and will feature no equations and lots interesting phenomena, videos and examples.

This lecture is presented by Professor Ivan Corwin, Columbia University, who is this year's AustMS/AMSI Mahler Lecturer.


  • Professor Ivan Corwin
    Professor Ivan Corwin, Columbia University