Numbers and Nature 2022

A symposium to celebrate the life and legacy of Mitchell J. Feigenbaum

June 2-3, 2022   |   MIT Campus



Professor Mitchell J. Feigenbaum passed away on June 30, 2019. He is best known for his fundamental contributions to chaos theory. To celebrate his life and scientific legacy, MIT will host a symposium June 2-3, 2022. The symposium will feature current topics in nonlinear science, broadly conceived, as well as recent research in other areas that would have fascinated Feigenbaum. The symposium will not just be a tribute to Mitchell’s accomplishments but primarily a celebration of curiosity-driven, basic research.


● Executive Committee: David Campbell (BU), Predrag Cvitanović (Georgia Tech), Gemunu Gunaratne (U. Houston), and Daniel Rothman (MIT).

● International Advisory Committee: Sir Michael Berry (U Bristol), Leonid Bunimovich (Georgia Tech), Giulio Casati (Insubria), Fred Cooper (Los Alamos), Mogens Jensen (Niels Bohr Institute), Leon Glass (McGill), Nigel Goldenfeld (UC San Diego), Joel Lebowitz (Rutgers), Albert Libchaber (Rockefeller), Marcelo Magnasco (Rockefeller), Renu Malhotra (U Arizona), Yves Pomeau (Ecole Normale), Itamar Procaccia (Weizmann Institute), Sara A. Solla (Northwestern), Harry Swinney (U Texas)

Sponsored by the School of Science, the Lorenz Center, the David and Edith Harris Fund, and the Departments of Physics and of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.


Dwight Barkley (Warwick)
Sir Michael Berry (Bristol)
Ken Brecher (Boston University)
John Bush (MIT-Math)
Adam Cohen (Harvard)
Jean-Pierre Eckmann (U Geneva)
Nikta Fakhri (MIT-Physics)
Nigel Goldenfeld (UC San Diego)
Reymond E. Goldstein (U of Cambridge)
Björn Hof (ISTA)
Albert Libchaber (Rockefeller)
L. Mahadevan (Harvard)
Renu Malhotra (U Arizona)
Sasha Migdal (NYU)
Alex Petroff (Clark)
Yves Pomeau (CNRS)
Itamar Procaccia (Weizmann Institute)
Dan Rothman (MIT-EAPS)
Sara Seager (MIT-EAPS)
Sara Solla (Northwestern)
Harry Swinney (U Texas)
Kirsty Wan (Exeter)
Stephen Wolfram (Wolfram)

Please register for this event by May 31.

Register Online


The event will also be available via livestream:


Questions? Contact:  Alma Pellecer |


Thursday, June 2 
Lecture Hall 6-120, Building 6

    • 8:00 Registration
    • 9:00 Welcome
      Daniel Rothman — Professor of Geophysics and Co-Director of the Lorenz Center, MIT-EAPS
      Predrag Cvitanović — Professor and Glen P. Robinson Chair in Nonlinear Sciences, Georgia Tech


    • Mitchell's Role in Chaos
      Albert Libchaber — Detlev W. Bronk Professor of Physics, Rockefeller University
    • Maps and Shapes
      L. Mahadevan — Professor of Physics, de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard
    • Stories of Fluids and Light
      Reymond E. Goldstein — Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems, University of Cambridge

    10:40 Coffee Break  —  Chipman Room 6-104


    • Ein Sturm im Wasserglas
      Bjorn Hof — Professor of Physics, IST Austria
    • Hydrodynamics and Microbes
      Alex Petroff — Professor of Physics, Clark University
    • Life and Death of Turbulence
      Nigel Goldenfeld — Swanlund Chair and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, UC San Diego

    12:30 Lunch on your own


    • Optics, Vision, and Evolution After Mitchell Feigenbaum
      Jean-Pierre Eckmann — Professeur Honoraire, University of Geneva
    • The DeltaCELT Rattleback and Anamorphic Images
      Ken Brecher — Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Emeritus, Boston University
    • Geometry, Topology, and Electrophysiology
      Adam Cohen — Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Biology, and Physics, Harvard
    • Mathematics, Computation, and Nature
      Stephen Wolfram — Founder and CEO, Wolfram Research

    4:00 Coffee Break  —  Chipman Room 6-104


    • Four Illusions
      Sir Michael Berry — Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus), University of Bristol

    6:00 Public Reception  |  Ida Green Lounge, Building 54, Room 923

    7:30 Dinner | Morss Hall, Walker Memorial, Building 50
    By Invitation — Registration Required



    Friday, June 3
    Lecture Hall 6-120, Building 6

    • 8:00 Registration


    • Turbulence, From Newton’s Quadratic Law of Drag to Mitchell Feigenbaum and Recent Times
      Yves Pomeau — Emeritus Research Director, French National Centre for Scientific Research
    • Broken Symmetries in Living Systems
      Nikta Fakhri — Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Career Development Professor, MIT-Physics
    • Overcoming the Random Closed Packed Barrier: Crystallization in Granular Media (Presented via Zoom)
      Harry Swinney — Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin

    10:30 Coffee Break  —  Chipman Room 6-104


    • Singularity in a Teacup — When Nature Gives Infinity
      Dwight Barkey — Professor of Mathematics, University of Warwick
    • Vortex Sheets and Turbulent Statistics (Presented via Zoom)
      Sasha Migdal — Research Professor of Physics, NYU
    • Venus as a Potentially Habitable Planet
      Sara Seager — Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Physics, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT-EAPS, Physics and AeroAstro

    12:30 Lunch on your own


    • Encoding Patterns in Single-Cell Locomotion: Oscillations, Synchronization, and Excitability
      Kirsty Wan — ERC Starting Grantee, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
    • The Mysteries of Gaps and Pile-Ups at Planetary Resonances
      Renu Malhotra — Louise Foucar Marshall Science Research Professor and Regents Professor of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona
    • Neural Manifolds for Control of Movement (Presented via Zoom)
      Sara A. Solla — Professor of Neuroscience and Physics, Northwestern


    3:30 Coffee Break  —  Chipman Room 6-104


    • Hydrodynamic Quantum Analogs
      John Bush — Professor of Applied Mathematics and Fluid Dynamics, MIT-Math
    • Shocks and Surprises: Screening of Elasticity by Plastic Charges in Amorphous Solids
      Itamar Procaccia —  
      Barbara and Morris L. Levinson Professorial Chair in Chemical Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science
    • Glassy Dynamics in Earth’s Carbon Cycle
      Dan Rothman — 
      Professor of Geophysics and Co-Director of the Lorenz Center, MIT-EAPS

    5:30 Adjourn


    Header Image from Bronzes: Chaos, New Science, New Art  by the artist Rhonda Roland Shearer, with a foreward written by Mitchell J. Feigenbaum.