Top mathematician Cedric Villani’s career took an unexpected turn when he decided to swap equations for politics, becoming a parliamentary candidate for French President Emmanuel Macron’s party.
A newcomer to politics, Villani joins the ranks of Macron’s 525 parliamentary candidates throughout France, and says he hopes he will be able to bring a fresh eye to issues impacting his town of Orsay and to help his country emerge from “old sterile debates”.
Not used to handing out flyers and with a flashy dress sense, the winner of the 2010 Fields Medal – maths’ Nobel Prize – headed out to a local market in the university town to meet residents on May 26 to push issues including research and innovation where his international reputation earned him respect.
Though one local was not convinced by his brief appearance, 93-year-old Marguerite told Reuters that she would vote for Villani to give a parliamentary majority to newly-elected president Macron.
President Macron’s party is on course to win a majority in the elections, the first round of which takes place on June 11.
He won the presidential election, promising to overhaul French politics and over half of his candidates are from civil society and not the political arena. The same is true of his new cabinet.
Villani will be up against 14 other candidates from across the political spectrum but is on favourable turf; Macron came top in the second round of the presidential election in the local region with 72.2% of the votes.