Free probability

The relation of free probability with random matrices is a key reason for the wide use of free probability in other subjects. Voiculescu introduced the concept of freeness around 1983 in an operator algebraic context; at the beginning there was no relation at all with random matrices. This connection was only revealed later in 1991 by Voiculescu; he was motivated by the fact that the limit distribution which he found in his free central limit theorem had appeared before in Wigner's semi-circle law in the random matrix context.