For speakers


The Mark Kac seminar takes place in Utrecht, in one of the university buildings in the magnificent city center. The seminar rooms are equipped with a beamer and whiteboard. If you plan to use the beamer, you should always bring a copy of your presentation (a PDF file) on a memory stick to the seminar. It is usually no problem to use your own laptop, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you plan to use the beamer, you should also take into account that the screen might obscure part of the whiteboard, leaving you little space to write on. If you plan to use only the whiteboard, you should be aware that the room might only be equipped with a single whiteboard, which means that you may not have as much space to write on as you are used to. This is one of the minor drawbacks of organizing a seminar in the city centre.


The Mark Kac seminar attracts an audience of researchers from all over the Netherlands working in the areas of probability theory and statistical physics. A majority specializes in mathematics rather than physics. The number of attendants typically lies between 15 and 25.

We emphasize that the seminar attracts many young researchers (PhD students and postdocs, and the occasional Master student), not all of whom specialize in statistical physics. As a speaker, you should take this into consideration. You can count on a basic knowledge of (spatial) probability theory and general mathematics, but not everyone in the audience is familiar with the foundations of statistical physics, quantum physics, or other advanced fields of expertise.


The schedule of the Mark Kac seminar is one of the keys to its success. A lecture in the Mark Kac seminar is longer than usual: each of the two speakers will have 90 minutes (twice 45 minutes) to speak, with a 15-minute break half-way each talk. This means that as a speaker, you have ample time to explain things and go into details. We warn you, however, not to overestimate the amount of material you can cover in the given time: the seminars setup invites questions and discussion, and this has been known to catch speakers out in the past.

In view of the above, we suggest that you keep the first part of your talk at an accessible, introductory level, aimed at a general audience of PhD level and above. The second part of your talk can be more advanced. Make good use of the available time to explain your results and, if possible, to go into the ideas behind them and the details of their proofs, but also make sure to leave time for discussion and questions.

The two lectures are separated by a lunch break. If you are the morning speaker, please take into account that we need to stop in time to have enough time for lunch before the start of the afternoon session. The schedule for the day is as follows:

11:15–12:00morning speaker, part 1
12:15–13:00morning speaker, part 2
lunch break
14:30–15:15afternoon speaker, part 1
15:30–16:15afternoon speaker, part 2

After the seminar, a group usually goes for a beer somewhere in the city centre, to which you are of course invited.

Title and abstract

Please send title and abstract of your talk to the organizers well in advance (roughly 4 weeks before the seminar). Title and abstract should be sent in plain text. Do not use (La)TeX. If you need special characters, the preferred way to include them is to use HTML character entities (for instance, á for á or ë for ë) in your message. If you cannot or do not know how to do this and you do use special characters, please make sure that your e-mail header specifies which character set is used (not all e-mail clients do this automatically), so that we can identify the proper character to use. Your title and abstract will be published on our website, and will also be included in the e-mail announcement of the seminar.

Hotel and travel arrangements

We can arrange hotel accommodation for speakers from abroad. If you come from abroad, you should make your own travel arrangements, but we will reimburse you your travel expenses if you send us your tickets, bills and receipts after the seminar. The hotel bill is usually paid directly by us, and we also provide all our speakers an allowance to cover lunch and that includes a modest per diem if you stay overnight.

We always try to find a hotel within walking distance from the seminar location and Utrecht Central station. Should you want to make use of public transport to move around in Utrecht, you can use the 9292 public transport planner to plan your journey. If you arrive in the Netherlands by plane, a direct train connection will take you from Schiphol Airport to Utrecht Central station in 30 minutes. Consult the Dutch Railways travel planner for the train schedule.