January 31, 1953 and 9/11: living with risk

Hosted by the Department of Mathematics

Old Theatre, Old Building


Professor Paul Embrechts

Professor Paul Embrechts


Professor Jan van den Heuvel

Professor Jan van den Heuvel

In its broad interpretation, “risk” is omnipresent in modern society. What does science, in particular mathematics, have to offer in a societal discourse on the topic?

During the night of January 31 - February 1, 1953, a heavy winter storm battered the coastal areas of South West Holland and South East England killing over 2000 people. As a consequence, the Dutch started their famous Delta project. Paul Embrechts will discuss some of the scientific discourse related to the ensuing dike building process. The Twin Towers attack of 9/11 yields a very different kind of risk which will be contrasted with the flood event. Some methodological links to the financial crisis of 2006-2008 will be highlighted. The talk concludes with a discussion on the public communication and understanding of risk and the need for more interdisciplinary research.

Paul Embrechts is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich) where he taught insurance and financial mathematics.

Jan van den Heuvel (@JanvadeHe) is Head of the Department of Mathematics at LSE.

The Department of Mathematics is internationally recognised for its teaching and research in the fields of discrete mathematics, game theory, financial mathematics and operations research.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEEmbrechts


A podcast of this event is available to download from January 31, 1953 and 9/11: living with risk.

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