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2004 Van Vleck Notes

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Great Lakes Geometry Conference May 1-4, 2003

The Great Lakes Geometry Conference is a rotating event held once a year at an institution in the Great Lakes region. These events are meant to showcase particularly active areas of research in geometry and benefit students, postdocs and researchers throughout the Midwest.

On this occasion the conference met for 4 days at UW-Madison. There were 14 plenary lectures, listed below:



G. Tian "Recent Progress in Kahler-Ricci Solitons"
T. Colding "Sharp Estimates for Mean Curvature Flows
   of Graphs"
H. Bray "Yamabe Invariants of 3-manifolds"
F. Hirzebruch "Manifolds Fibered in Elliptic Curves"
C. L. Terng "Geometry of Submanifolds in Space Forms
   and Integrable Systems"
J. Y. Chen "Singularity of Mean Curvature Flow of Some
   Calibrated Submanifolds"
J. Jost "Green Functions and Conformal Geometry"
B. Lawson "Boundaries of Analytic Varieties in P(n)
   and Projective Gelfand Transformations"
Z. Lu "The Szegö Kernel of Unit Circle Bundle"
R. J. Milgram "The Geometry of Serial Linkages,
   Together with Recollections of Gene Calabi"
J. P. Bourgignon "The Geometry of the Space of Kaehler
   Potentials"
J. P. Wang "Geometry and Topology of Manifolds with
   Positive Spectrum"
Y. T. Siu "Hyperbolicity in Function Theory"
X. Rong Ön Fundamental Groups of Positively Curved
   Manifolds with Symmetry"

The topics covered the most important areas of geometric analysis. As part of the conference, F. Hirzebruch (Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik (Bonn)) delivered a Distinguished Lecture in the UW Math Department with the title ``Representation Theory and Algebraic Geometry.'' This talk was intended specifically for graduate students. There were approximately 60 participants in the conference, including students and mathematicians from all over the US.

On May 2 we held a panel discussion about problems in Geometric Analysis, chaired by Gang Tian. A lively 90 minute discussion took place, with blackboard participation by leaders in the field. A list of open problems will be developed based on this fruitful interaction.

Finally, we should mention that this event was dedicated to Gene Calabi on occasion of his 80th birthday. His enormous impact on the field and his charismatic presence made this event especially memorable.


 Contributed by Alejandro Adem

Conferences Celebrate Birthdays of
Richard Askey and Carl de Boor

On December 3, 2002 Carl de Boor celebrated his 65th anniversary and retired from the university at the end of Spring 2003. In previous cases (such as his 60th anniversary) Carl stood firm against the idea of having a scientific meeting in honor of the occasion. This time, he reluctantly allowed a few of his friends to hold a small meeting at Dagstuhl, Germany (which is the CS equivalent of Oberwolfach).

The week-long meeting took place during May 2003. The participants came from several different circles of Applied Mathematics. Some were Carl's personal friends (Gene Golub, our former colleague Mike Crandall, John Rice), some were Carl's former students (all graduated at UW, and almost all with a Mathematics degree). Some were researchers from the Approximation Theory community (Ron DeVore, who spent two sabbaticals at UW, Larry Schumaker who visited UW at the old times of the MRC and many others). UW was ``represented'' at the meeting by Paul Rabinowitz (who was also an organizer), Dick Askey, and me. The complete list of participants, as well as the entire scientific agenda, can be found at www.waveletidr.org (look under ``meetings'').

While the meeting, by all means, was a terrific one scientifically, it stood out due to two ``social-like'' issues. First, until arriving at the site, Carl did not know who the participants of the meeting were (save two of the organizers, at least not officially). Second, while he was joined by his wife Helen, four other members of his family (three of his kids, as well as his eldest grandson, Corwin) made a surprise appearance at the site right at the beginning of the special banquet. The date of the banquet coincided with Corwin's 6th anniversary, so it is fair to say that the meeting celebrated Corwin's birthday, not Carl's


  Contributed by Amos Ron





The International Workshop on Special Functions,
Orthogonal Polynomials, Quantum Groups, and Related Topics

The International Workshop on Special Functions, Orthogonal Polynomials, Quantum Groups, and Related Topics was held on October 18-22, 2003 in Bexbach/Saarland, Germany, and it was dedicated to Dick Askey on his 70th birthday.

The workshop opened with welcome addresses by representatives from local politics and industry where participants learned about geographical and historical peculiarities of the Bexbach region. The talks given by conference participants of four continents covered the different topics and fields of research that have been significantly influenced by Richard Askey and his work, and furthermore showed their actual and future development. These included: classical special functions (and their relations with other fields), q-special functions and q-analysis (and quantum groups), the land beyond q (elliptic and other generalizations), and various other topics (number theory, combinatorics, ).

Included among the lecturers were: Dick's coauthor George Andrews, The Two Scariest Formulas in Ramanujan's Lost Notebook (the opening talk), Warren Johnson [PhD 1993, R. Askey], The Pfaff-Cauchy Derivative Identities, Hurwitz Type Extensions, and Applications, and UW-Madison colleague Paul Terwilliger, Tridiagonal Pairs and the Quantum Affine Algebra Uq(sl2). The closing talk was given by Dick who reflected on many of the results that were presented in this workshop. He highlighted some of the results, by putting them in the right perspective, and presented some of his favourite subjects.

During the banquet on the last evening speeches were given by George Andrews, Tom Koornwinder and Sergei Suslov. At 9 p.m. participants were asked to go outdoors for the special event, which was a spectacular fireworks in honor of Dick, almost as large in scale and beauty as the fireworks on the queen's birthday. A special issue of the Ramanujan Journal will be published in honor of Dick, which will also contain papers associated with lectures given in Bexbach.

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