Participant Testimonials

Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2011

I think in summary it helped a lot to feel the culture of my discipline. As a PhD candidate who had not done much research, it is hard to comment further. But I think it will help me a lot in the future.

Yuncheng Lin PhD Candidate at Stanford University
Mathematics, Stanford University

A little over two years ago when I was coordinating with other co-organizers to file a workshop proposal, we knew that the particular area of mathematics we were working at that time would grow and produce many interesting results. The actual outcome of the workshop was far beyond the boundary of our wildest imaginations. Originally we thought it would be nice to have a few review talks that would summarize what had happened in the last two years. When the workshop date was approaching, it became clear to me that all talks would feature the most up-to-date and on-going research endeavors. All participants contributed to creating the atmosphere filled with a high level of excitement. Spontaneous discussions took place everywhere, during the breaks and meals, and the night times. Speakers have shared their energy and enthusiasm with the audience. Everybody was invited to have a glimpse of future with the speaker. Physicists proposed new conjectures and challenged mathematicians. Mathematicians responded with new insights, new understanding, and even new conjectures that do not follow from the physics predictions. Often essential questions and constructive criticisms erupted during the talks. The topics discussed were rather diverse, as evidenced from the list of talks. Yet there was a strong backbone that united the theme of all the talks. A characteristic feature of our workshop was the energy of young participants (20 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars) and many first-time participants of BIRS events. I believe the lively event of our workshop that exhibited the excitement of research frontier influenced and engaged these young participants. I myself was able to learn a huge amount of new ideas. Mysteries are deepened. Yet more understandings are developed. I was able to launch two new collaborations during the workshop, which would probably have never taken place without the BIRS event. In short, the workshop was a phenomenal success.

Motohico Mulase Professor
Mathematics, University of California, Davis

I found the scientific content of the workshop really excellent. It was one of the most interesting workshops that I have attended recently. Though there is no direct outcome in terms of new results and/or papers that I can report already, I had plenty of very interesting and useful discussions and hope to continue them since I invited about 5 or 6 people I met there to visit me in Amsterdam next spring.

Sergey Shadrin Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics, University of Amsterdam

I benefited a lot from this wonderful workshop. This is no doubt one of the best workshops/conferences that I have ever attended. It is a rare chance to meet so many world leading experts in the field. It exposed me to interesting new problems and I cannot wait to start working on them.

Hao Xu Postdoc
Mathematics, Harvard University