Laureate of the L'Oréal-UNESCO "Young Talent" grant 2016
“I’ve been very lucky for the professors I’ve met. They taught me many things and encouraged my curiosity. I fell in love with mathematics and particularly with geometry,” says Olga Romaskevich, who is pursuing a co-supervised thesis at the ENS de Lyon’s Pure and Applied Mathematics Unit (UMPA) and at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. She owes her love of science to her grandfather: “He was a researcher in celestial mechanics and we would talk a lot when I was young: about science, the stars, poetry – everything that’s beautiful!”
Olga Romaskevich heard of the L’Oréal France-UNESCO grant through the UMPA’s Marielle Simon, 2014 laureate. “I applied in 2015 but did not get it. I tried my luck again in 2016, and it worked. I think it’s an important lesson: to give yourself the opportunity to try again if it doesn’t work the first time around, in life as much as in mathematics.” Olga feels the urge to talk about her research, her passion. She works more specifically on the statistical properties of dynamic systems, following the so-called ergodic theory, according to which measures taken on a trajectory chosen randomly provie information on the general state of the system. “If the boat measures the temperature of the sea following a random trajectory, then the average result obtained will give the average temperature of the entire sea,” she explains. She hopes that a better understanding of these mathematical models will help understand real physical phenomena. She is also starting a new research project about the geometry of Zoll surfaces with Vincent Borelli, researcher at Lyon 1 University: “These are the surfaces of which all geodesics are closed – such as the sphere. If you start walking on the sphere, you’ll soon fall on your footsteps and understand that you’ve gone full circle. The sphere is not the only example for such a surface, there are an infinite number of them!”
Olga Romaskevich is also passionate about sharing her knowledge. As part of a partnership between the ENS de Lyon and the Musée des Confluences, she co-created a virtual exhibition on celestial mechanics. “I’m doing everything I can to promote the image of mathematics in society.” The money from the grant will allow her to continue her collaborations with researchers in Russia and the United States. “I’m thinking of also dedicating part of the sum to the popularization of science: we’re working on the site of the virtual exhibition on the topic of celestial mechanics with my friends, Marie and Valentin, and having a bit more money for that project will allow us to produce content of better quality.”
A quick bio
- 1990: Born in Moscow
- 2007: Silver Medal in the mathematics class of School 57 in Moscow
- 2012: Diploma in French language and civilization from the Collège Universitaire Français in Moscow
- 2012: Diploma, with mention, from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics
- December 2012: Joins the ENS de Lyon for one month to work with Alexey Glutsyuk on the complexification of the law of reflection in billiards. Meets Étienne Ghys.
- 2013: Étienne Ghys becomes her thesis co-director. “That way, I can learn from both the Russian and French math schools.”
- 2016: ATER. "I’m happy to teach here, it’s a great pleasure to share mathematics with such motivated students.”
- December 2016: Will defend her thesis on December 7.