Participant Testimonials

Apr 07 - Apr 12, 2013

I enjoyed the conference very much. It brought together several disciplines within mathematics, which was great. I wouldn't want every conference to be this way, but here are two big pluses this time: First, several of the expository talks were really quite good, and broadened my knowledge to greater familiarity with these other disciplines. Second, and most important, two conversations I had in particular with members of another discipline provided a new, useful view on a tangentially related current research project of mine.

Andrew Cotton-Clay Mathematics, Harvard University

Last week's workshop at BIRS was an outstanding event for me and for my research. I took advantage of many extremely interesting talks, and of having the possibility to meet and discuss with some of the main world experts on mapping class groups. These 5-day workshops, with few but very good researchers toghether at an extraordinary environment, provide the perfect conditions for discussions, interactions and development of research projects. This was my case indeed. Thank you for organizing this kind of meetings, in particular this one and the other two I attended previously (on braid groups, some years ago).

Juan Gonzalez-Meneses Algebra, University of Seville

My fourth visit to BIRS was, like all those visits, enjoyable and interesting. The somewhat unusual conjunction of topics in this meeting stimulated me to think about connections between mapping class groups and Floer-thoeretic questions in symplectic topology (the latter topic is what my research is about). I asked the mapping class group experts a number of directed questions about properties of mapping class groups which might potentially apply also to symplectic mapping class groups in higher dimensions (the basic connection being through the notion of a Dehn twist). Based on their answers, I came away with a number of definite and novel problems in symplectic geometry (some ambitious, some less so) which I or my students might well work on in the future. I'd emphasize that it was the topic of the workshop and the presence of experts that stimulated this line of thought.

Tim Perutz Mathematics, University of Texas-Austin