Participant Testimonials

Jul 01 - Jul 06, 2018

It was a very special meeting: there was genuine interaction between the sometimes disparate Higgs bundles and harmonic maps communities. I learned an enormous amount and had many interactions that I hope will blossom into something more concrete.

Francis Burstall Professor
Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath

The past event at CMO BIRS has been an important event to me. It helps to give me a fresh insight on some topics on Higgs bundles and around my research area.

Sergio Andrés Holguín Cardona CONACYT Research fellow

The conference in Oaxaca was a great success and was for me the occasion to learn exciting new developments. Rather than inviting specialists in one given topic, the organisers chose to bring together a mixed crowd with different mathematical interests (Higgs bundles, harmonic mappings, calssicla differential geometry, Anosov representations). This was very successful. Most, if not all of them, of the talks were excellent and at the right level, giving enough background for such a diverse audience and also presenting new ideas. It gave me the opportunity to reconnect with classical differential geometry but also to hear first class talks giving both introduction to hot topics (twistor lines and their moduli spaces, WKB approximation of semiflat metrics; harmonic mappings in symmetric spaces notably in the context of split or hermitian groups) as well as clear description of how the results were ultimately proved. The size of the audience as well as the facilities were optimal and informal conversations helped me a lot in improving my knowledge and my understanding of the talks.

François Labourie Professor
Mathematics, Univ. Nice Côte d'Azur

I was strongly impressed with many recent new results on Higgs bundles and harmonic maps which were explained in the workshop. I learned that some problems which I have been interested were already partially developed, and I am interested in what to do in the next stage. It was also significant for me to get to know some people whose works I had known.

Takuro Mochizuki Professor
Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University

The talks, between 50-60 minutes with discussion time afterwards, have all been very well prepared and were highly interesting content wise. The schedule of 5 talks per day, with mixed themes, encouraged all participants to attend the talks. Since the workshop had two different groups come together for (possibly) the first time, initial worries of the two groups being somewhat separated vanished on day one: participants from the two groups were (1) very surprised how results/methods/conjectures from one group played significant roles in results/methods/conjectures of the other group and (2) how much overlap and ease of communication there was between the two groups. Many discussions and exchanges between participants of the two groups happened throughout the meeting. Existing collaborations were continued during the workshop and new collaborations started. Each group learned of the relevant problems of the other group and suggestions for approaches/solutions were discussed and sometimes new progress was made. Ph. D. students and post docs got a very comprehensive view of the subjects and could readily discuss questions with experts in the field. Interesting discussions between young researchers and more stablished experts happened throughout the workshop. Senior participants also got to know younger colleagues through their very well received talks (which I am sure will have impact on future hiring decisions of those young researchers). In my view the meeting was very successful in bringing the two aspects of the field together. The atmosphere of the workshop from the start was relaxed, open, and vertically integrated. Participants mixed nicely during meal times and discussions, started after talks, continued over meals and later into the evening. Often smaller groups stood in front of the black boards in the walkway and discussion room to carry out calculations as a team. The overall atmosphere of the workshop was one of permanent exchanges of ideas and collaborations--as if the workshop was some kind of research outfit working on a common project. It was very inspirational, very stimulating, and there was a very strong sense and wish among all participants to continue such meetings in the near future.

Franz Pedit Professor
Mathematics and Statistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst