Mathematical analysis could ultimately predict global-scale random events by pooling predictions of random single-molecule events
In the science fiction Foundation Series, by cult author Isaac Asimov, a mathematician predicts the future of the human race using psychohistory, an imaginary concept that relies on stochastic analysis of everyone in the universe.
Stochastic analysis is a branch of mathematics studied at Imperial in which scientists try to understand and model seemingly random events.
It can be used to guide rockets to the moon and explain patterns of global temperature changes. Pooling the stochastic analysis of single molecules may even provide the key to predicting much larger, global, random events that have yet to happen, such as future temperatures and weather patterns.
Hear Professor Dan Crisan from the Department of Mathematics talk about the role of stochastic analysis in fictional science - the subject of his Inaugural lecture last month at Imperial - and its potential to predict the real future of the human race.
Words and audio by Jenny Mitchell
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