The FMF Symposium is the largest annual scientific event of the FMF. Each year it revolves around a specific theme, which is based on current events in science. Dutch and international speakers who are renowned in their field present their research in physics, astronomy, mathematics and computing science. The Symposium attracts many bachelor and master students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, but of course staff members, PhD’s and others are also welcome.

This year, the theme of the symposium will be ‘’Brilliant Accidents’’. Of course, this theme can be quite broadly interpreted. First of all, we hope to highlight that not all of science is ‘’linear’’. When you read a textbook, the material may be presented as a sequence of ideas, which together form a coherent theory. Each idea should follow logically from the previous one, or should be justified by a clever experiment.

In reality, new science is discovered after going through hundreds of dead ends, and by keeping an open mind, especially when something seems to contradict established principles. Also in Mathematics, the “right” definitions are only found after playing around with many examples, and discovering the underlying patterns.

Moreover, one can think about scientific phenomena which happen (seemingly) at random. Researchers working in accelerator physics are smashing particles into each other at extremely high energies, waiting for an ‘’accident’’ of nature to occur. This is meant to test the limits of our current theories.

Probabilistic models are also becoming increasingly more important. The mathematics of Markov processes can provide excellent simulations of small magnetic systems. Also, if you teach a computer the rules of chess, and make it play against itself, it will start out by making random moves. However, after only a few hours, it will “discover” how to play strategically, and after a few more hours, it will be better than the best human players.

The committee

The Symcie is the organizing committee for the FMF Symposium. Tasks include contacting potential speakers, arrange sponsoring, finding a suitable location and promoting the event. It is a great way to gain experience in the organization of a large event, but also to get familiar with current research and topics that are not included in the curriculum.


  • Martijn Kluitenberg - Chairman
  • Klarissa Loke - Secretary
  • Floor Schipper - Treasurer
  • Oleksandra Chulei - Speaker Commisioner
  • Tesse Tiemens - Business Commissioner