At 42, mathematician Cédric Villani is something of a rock star. He is not just a prodigious mathematician – he won the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, in 2010. Since then, he has been travelling across the world to deliver public lectures and to advocate for mathematics in countries without the infrastructure to support it, particularly in Africa. He has also written a comic book in French.

Villani has another claim to fame, in part because of his distinctive personal style, which includes a three-piece suit, a flamboyant cravat knotted into a loose bow and a giant spider brooch. This has won him the unusual second distinction of featuring in photo shoots and on the covers of French fashion magazines.

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