Lorentz Center - Moduli Spaces and Arithmetic Geometry from 9 Nov 2015 through 13 Nov 2015
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    Moduli Spaces and Arithmetic Geometry
    from 9 Nov 2015 through 13 Nov 2015

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Moduli Spaces and Arithmetic Geometry

9 13 November 2015



The workshop Moduli spaces and arithmetic geometry was organized on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Frans Oort. It was agreed from the very start that the meeting should not be a gathering of old friends of Oort, but that instead we should aim for the highest possible scientific level. The organizers felt that this is the best way to do justice to the mathematical career of Oort.

The interest in the workshop was overwhelming. Even though it was held in the middle of the semester, many of the leading experts whom we invited agreed to attend and give a lecture. Also, the number of interested people went well above the capacity of the Lorentz Center, and we had to install a waiting list. In the end, the workshop was attended by 56 registered participants, but many lectures were attended by more people. One of the highlights of the week was the lecture by Jean-Pierre Serre, arguably the most famous living mathematician; on that occasion the lecture room was packed to maximum capacity, with several people standing at the back of the room or sitting in the window sills.

It would be an understatement to say the week was a success. Even though the expectations were high, we could not have hoped for such a wonderful week. As organizers we feel we have rarely ever been part of such a lively and inspiring event, and many participants have expressed similar feelings. The scientific level of the talks was exceptionally high, and we have heard about several recent developments that constitute breakthroughs in the field. Also the overall quality of the talks was very high. Most of all, however, we received many positive comments about the exceptionally lively atmosphere. There were hilarious jokes during the lectures, inspiring discussions between old and new friends, ideas for future collaborations, and so on.

We had chosen to organize two mini-series about special topics, and to leave the remaining talks open for other topics. This worked out well. The two mini-series got enough time for the speakers to go in depth, but they did not dominate the workshop too much. The other talks were about a variety of different topics. As people in our research field tend to have broad interests, we feel that these lectures were also very inspiring to the audience.

During the first three days, we organized Question & Answer sessions for PhD students and postdocs. These again were a great success, as witnessed not only by the high number of young people attending but also but their eagerness to ask questions and have discussions with leading experts.

On Thursday we had a special afternoon with two talks aimed at a broader audience of mathematicians, and concluded by a reception. This afternoon was attended by more than 120 people. It was remarkable to note that many people who came especially for this afternoon commented on the wonderful atmosphere; the enthousiasm of the workshop participants apparently showed that something special was going on.

Also on behalf of the participants, we should like to express our gratitude to the staff of the Lorentz Center, for facilitating this workshop, taking so much work out of our hands, and for their friendly support. This has enabled us to smoothly run a workshop that will be remembered by many as an exceptional event.