In Interviews

AMSI and AustMS provide young Australian researchers an opportunity to attend the international Heidelberg Laureate Forum, an annual meeting bringing together winners of the most scientific awards in Mathematics.

In August five lucky researchers flew to Germany and attended the exciting forum, this is their story:

The 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) was held in Heidelberg’s picturesque old city on August 23-28 . Supported by the Klaus-Tschira-Stiftung, since 2013, the Forum has brought young researchers from around the globe together with a handful of laureates – outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists who have been recipients of either the Abel Prize, ACM A.M.
Turning Award, Fields Medal, or the Nevanlinna Prize.

This year’s forum was no different, and included approximately 200 young researchers and 26 laureates including Leonard Adleman (ACM Turning Award recipient and co-inventor of the RSA cryptosystem), Shigefumi Mori (Fields Medalistand president of the International Mathematical Union), and Vinton Gray Cerf (ACM Turning Award recipient and co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols). The group of young researchers included five young mathematicians working in Australia

It was, of course, an honour to be given the opportunity to meet with the laureates, and to be able to put a face and a personality to with their famous names. It was also somewhat humbling that many of them, when asked about how they decided which problems and areas to work on, simply replied “I just do what I find interesting.”

The Forum’s program was full of activities, which gave both the young researchers and the laureates a great deal of time to get better acquainted. Each day of the academic program began with a number of engaging talks from the laureates. The afternoon sessions included a number of short workshops given by the more senior young researchers, stimulating “hot topic” discussions, and visits to local institutions including the German Cancer Research Centre and the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics.

Highlights of the social program included dinner in a museum aside a Russian space shuttle in the nearby town of Speyer, a Bavarian Night with a little Schuhplattler (Bavarian dance) just for good measure, and, no visit to Heidelberg would be complete without the renaissance ruins of the spectacular Heidelberg Castle.

In summary, the HLF was a fantastic opportunity to engage with, learn from, and be inspired by mathematicians and computer scientists who have achieved remarkable things and reached the top of their respective fields, as well as to network with an international cohort of up and coming young researchers.

Phillip Bader – La Trobe University
Matthew Tam – The University of Newcastle
Anna Tomskova – The University of New South Wales
Melissa Lee – The University of Western Australia
John Tsartsaflis – La Trobe University