Archive for France

Morey-Saint-Denis

Posted in pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , on September 20, 2017 by xi'an

[one of] 99 stories of God

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by xi'an

19

When he was a boy, someone’s great-grandfather told him this story about a traveller in thirteenth-century France.

The traveller met three men pushing wheelbarrows. He asked in what work they were engaged, and he received from them the following three answers.

The first said: I toil from sunrise to sunset and all I receive for my labor is a few francs a day.

The second said: I’m happy enough to wheel this wheelbarrow, for I have not had work for many months and I have a family to feed.

The third said: I am building Chartres Cathedral.

But as a boy he had no idea what a chartres cathedral was.

Joy Williams, ninety-nine stories of God.

[Nitpicking on that sharp little tale: Francs did not become a currency in France until 1360, when it was first coined to attempt to ransom the then king of France, John II, who still died a prisoner in England.]

Daft Punk for Bastille Day [warning: some images may be distrumping!]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by xi'an

a trip back in time [and in Rouen]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2017 by xi'an

On Monday, I took part in a celebration of the remarkable career of a former colleague of mine in Rouen, Gérard Grancher, who is retiring after a life-long position as CNRS engineer in the department of maths of the University of Rouen, a job title that tells very little about the numerous facets of his interactions with mathematics, from his handling of all informatics aspects in the laboratory to his support of all colleagues there, including fresh PhD students like me in 1985!, to his direction of the CNRS lab in 2006 and 2007 at a time of deep division and mistrust, to his numerous collaborations on statistical projects with local actors, to his Norman federalism in bringing the maths departments of Caen and Rouen into a regional federation, to an unceasing activism to promote maths in colleges and high schools and science fairs all around Normandy, to his contributions to professional training in statistics for CNRS agents, and much, much more… Which explains why the science auditorium of the University of Rouen was packed with mathematicians and high schools maths teachers and friends! (The poster of the day was made by Gérard’s accomplices in vulgarisation, Élise Janvresse and Thierry Delarue, based on a sample of points randomly drawn from Gérard’s picture, maybe using a determinantal process, and the construction of a travelling salesman path over those points.)

This was a great day with mostly vulgarisation talks (including one about Rasmus’ socks..!) and reminiscences about Gérard’s carreer at Rouen. As I had left the university in 2000 to move to Paris-Dauphine, this was a moving day as well, as I met with old friends I had not seen for ages, including our common PhD advisor, Jean-Pierre Raoult.

This trip back in time was also an opportunity to (re-)visit the beautifully preserved medieval centre of Rouen, with its wooden houses, Norman-style, the numerous churches, including Monet‘s cathedral, the Justice Hall… Last time I strolled those streets, George Casella was visiting!

a bar for MCMC algorithms [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by xi'an

art brut

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2017 by xi'an

village fountain [jatp]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on May 7, 2017 by xi'an