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Emergence of Symmetry in Planar Probability

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I will describe several simple and natural random systems which exist on the two-dimensional infinite square grid. Often there is a “critical point” for these systems. At this point, it has been predicted for more than 30 years that these systems acquire an unexpected symmetry: invariance under conformal transformations of the complex plane.

I will explain what that means, discuss some examples, and try to convey a few ideas about remarkable progress which has taken place in the last 15 years to describe these objects rigorously, notably Schramm’s famous SLE random curves.

This talk is part of the Trinity Mathematical Society series.

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