Relevant notes and citations provided to TED by Cédric Villani.
The French do many other things well, of course.
The quote about mathematical pleasure from André Weil is extracted from The Apprenticeship of a Mathematician (Birkhräuser, 1991).
Some references about the atomic nature of the world, and statistical mechanics:
Alex Bellos, Alex's Adventures in Numberland, Bloomsbury, 2011
Mark Kac, Probability and Related Topics in Physical Sciences, American Mathematical Society, 1957
David Lindley, Boltzmanns Atom: The Great Debate That Launched A Revolution In Physics, Free Press, 2016
Carlo Cercignani, Ludwig Boltzmann: The Man Who Trusted Atoms, Oxford University Press, 2006
The particular variant of Galton's Board, also called "bean machine," in use here was conceived by Paul-Louis Hennequin and devised by Palais de la Découverte.
About my struggle to mathematically establish nonlinear Landau damping, together with Clément Mouhot: It is all told in my book Birth of a Theorem (A Mathematical Adventure), published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016).
A cross between a diary, adventure novel and society novel, this book aims at rendering in an impressionistic but very realistic way everything that goes on in the head of a mathematician searching for a theorem, becoming obsessed with it, and at the same time interacting with all the community and the scientific and nonscientific environment. Formulas and highly technical material are provided as illustration of what goes on, but no understanding of them whatsoever is needed.
The renovated "Maison des Mathématiques" (at Institut Henri Poincaré), as I mention it at the end of the talk, will open in 2020. It will not be the first museum of mathematics, but it will be unique in its kind, as a consequence of the historical context, the unique collusion which will take place there between research, education and industry, the high level of society support, the use of venerable collections as well as cutting-edge interaction technologies.
Already a number of companies have come in to be our partners, and we have started to work with them even before the opening of the Museum (for instance, by working together on the French celebration of the Shannon Centenary. We will be glad to welcome more partners. This is an adventure on which I have already been working for four years, with four more years to come.
Just one minute away from Institut Henri Poincaré is the Pâtisserie du Panthéon, which is absolutely world class for pastries, viennoiseries, etc.