Colloquium on September 21, 2009

Juan MR Parrondo
Martin Gutzwiller Fellowship, Award Ceremony

Paradoxes in stochastic dynamics

Two losing gambling games result in a winning game when played in an alternating sequence. This is the formulation of the so-called Parrondo Paradox, a simple example, based on physical models of Brownian motors, that illustrates how stochastic dynamics can sometimes challenge one's intuition. In this talk we will review a decade of the paradox: its formulation and relationship with Brownian ratchets, its impact and variants. We will also discuss generic "recipes" to build paradoxes based on the stabilization of transients and on the large fluctuations of multiplicative processes. The overall aim of the presentation is to show some of the surprises that one can encounter -and make use of- when modeling stochastic dynamical systems.