Peccot lecture & COVID-19


Update: The videos are now available on the Collège de France’s website! Please go there for the third lecture and there for the fourth lecture.

As some of you may know I was one of the people chosen this year to give a Peccot lecture at the Collège de France (see my first post about it). And as you all know for sure, normal life came to a halt a couple of months ago when the number of COVID-19 cases exploded in France (and the world) and the French government ordered a lockdown. While I was able to give my first two lectures before the lockdown started, the last two had to be postponed.

Thankfully, the number of cases is now diminishing and the lockdown is progressively being lifted. I was thus able to record my third lecture yesterday; it should appear online in a few days. The experience was somewhat surreal: I gave a two-hour lecture to a large classroom that was completely empty except for the cameraman and me. I had to give some online classes during the lockdown, but even then there was a certain sense of interactivity, whereas I was almost literally talking to wall yesterday, which was a bit destabilizing. But still, I’m happy that I was able to record the lecture, and I’d like to thank the Collège de France again for the opportunity! The current situation is extremely difficult for everyone, and I’m not the worst one off: it’s a very small sacrifice in the face of the public health crisis.

I hope people will still find it interesting and that the video will not feel too strange. I could not take questions during the lecture, obviously, but I will be happy to answer any you might have via email.