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HLF Review 2016

Welcome Three Abel

Welcome Three Abel Laureates at the 4th HLF Anne-Marie Astad Information Adviser Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA) The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA) is one of the institutions supporting the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF). The agreement about the establishment of the HLF was signed by the parties involved at the Academy in Oslo on May 22, 2012. Later the same day Endre Szemerédi received the Abel Prize from King Harald of Norway. This year Endre Szemerédi participated in his third Heidelberg Laureate Forum where he generously continued to share his knowledge with the next generation of mathematicians. Sir Andrew Wiles who received the Abel Prize this year for his stunning proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, drew a full house when he gave his lecture Equations in arithmetic in the large New Auditorium of Heidelberg University. For one of the young researchers in particular this was a very special moment. Dominique Mills-Howell from the University of the West Indies told us that this was the first time he could attend a lecture with Sir Andrew Wiles who had inspired him for so many years, ever since he was a young student of mathematics in Jamaica. To facilitate interaction between the winners of the Abel Prize, the Fields Medal, the Nevanlinna Prize and the ACM A.M. Turing Award and the young researchers in mathematics and computer science is at the core of the HLF. Scientific exchange and inspiration are two key factors. Exceptional young talents The Scientific Committee reviewed 600 applications and chose 200 young researchers from over 50 countries from all over the world. During one week in September, these outstanding young researchers met with 21 of the world’s most distinguished mathematicians and computer scientists in Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest and most famous university town. Heidelberg is also renowned for its baroque Altstadt (Old Town), spirited student atmosphere, beautiful riverside setting and evocative hilltop castle where many participants of the HLF enjoyed exquisite dinners while engaging in scientific discussions. The HLF is an “all inclusive” science week. Here scientists will introduce their most recent research findings and projects in plenary lectures. Workshops offer the young scientists a unique opportunity to discuss with the experts in their fields in an informal environment. At the same time the laureates appreciate the interactions with the outstanding young researchers in mathematics and computer science. It will come as no surprise if among this group of exceptional young talents there are future laureates. Looking at the program of the 4th HLF, there are many events that take place outside the lecture halls. The participants can choose from a variety of excursions and cultural events, not to mention all the opportunities to taste local food like at the Bavarian Evening. This creates many informal meeting places and makes HLF unique. 14

Welcome “Klaus Tschira cultivated this format so that mathematicians and computer scientists have a platform for scientific exchange,” said Beate Spiegel, Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) and Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS). Importance of early recognition Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council and himself a mathematician, shared in his address at the opening ceremony his own story of how he in the beginning of his career was contacted by a leading mathematician in his field and what that meant. In 1973, I was spending the summer at Stanford University as a young researcher. At that time I had not yet produced much in the way of scientific work. One morning the telephone rang in my office. And to my surprise on the line was Professor Chern Shiing Shen, a leading mathematician in my field of Differential Geometry. He invited me to share a lunch with him in Berkeley. I started to wonder why on earth this world famous mathematician would want to talk to me? It turned out that he was simply curious to know what my projects were. But the fact that he showed an interest in my work meant a great deal to me. I felt that, contrary to the impression I had formed in my own country, maybe what I was trying to do had some value after all. In research, confidence plays a huge role. Thanks to Professor Chern’s supportive attitude I came back to France with a different vision of my possible contributions to the field. I later discovered that he made such invitations to a number of young people. And this willingness to encourage and support young researchers, and to learn from them, is shared by the many leading scientists here at the HLF. Mathematical dreams Sir Michael Atiyah, who was awarded the Abel Prize in 2004 together with Isadore Singer, talked in his lecture about The Soluble and the Insoluble. He finished his talk by giving the audience a poem he had written. In the broad light of day mathematicians check their equations and their proofs, leaving no stone unturned in their search for rigour But, at night, under the full moon, they dream, they float among the stars and wonder at the miracle of the heavens They are inspired Without dreams there is no art, no mathematics, no life 15