The First National Forum of Young Topologists

So, I’ve added to the sidebar a new conference: The National Forum of Young Topologists in new Orleans next month. This actually sounds like a somewhat intriguing conference, concentrating on a mix of math and what I would call “professional development,” for lack of better word. Rather than a laser-like focus on the most recent stuff, it sounds like the math talks are supposed to be more historical in nature, and apparently the lectures by junior people are supposed to also “have the effect of showing examples of success stories starting out as graduate students through obtaining a tenure track position.”

While this all sounds very nice (I’ll admit that as a graduate student I never felt “isolated with [my] entire mathematical universe being [my] Ph.D. adviser,” and thus never felt the need for a conference to correct this, I know some people who’ve had that experience), I just can’t help but mock the name. I mean, I cannot imagine what on Earth the organizers were thinking when they came up with that one (and this comes from a guy who freely admits that the name of this blog was arrived at under the influence of spirituous beverages). I mean, did they put that in the grant application? It sounds like the world’s oddest Stalinist youth organization. The website could really use a couple of posters of square-jawed youths with sickles (or maybe just this guy) with a diagram of the Kirby calculus on the flag. I’m glad they want to have more such conferences (or at least, so they claim on the website), but I hope they don’t feel obligated to stick with the name.

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8 thoughts on “The First National Forum of Young Topologists

  1. As for the name, Ben was clearly not a member of North American Federation of Temple Youth!

    As I was reminded this weekend at the Sukkos party I went to, I’m about as goyish as they come, so no, I was not.

    Also, I find that name less problematic, though still slightly amusing.

  2. In Europe the corresponding Algebraic Geometry conference is called GAEL and it will be 18 next year. Despite confusing statements on the website I linked, it always was in english. And it is extremely useful.

    I still don’t understand what your problem with the topologists’ name is. Ok, it is maybe a bit unimaginative, but it’s very clear.

  3. Estraven,
    I think awkward declarative tone together with words like “national” and “young” are strongly associated to 20th century propaganda and indoctrination campaigns. Something bland like “Early Professional Topologist Forum” smells less like labor camps.

  4. Right, Scott is thinking basically along the lines I am. Though what I really would have liked is “Young Topologist Jamboree.” Admittedly, just as ridiculous, but light-hearted rather than sinister.

  5. Both “young” and “national” are words with connotations
    which are probably irrelevant to the event. When hiring
    tenure-track faculty “young” is especially suspect, because
    a small but significant number of strong applicants (women most often) are closer to 40 than to 20.
    People of both sexes sometimes encounter obstacles to
    their education or career entry which can be overcome.
    There are quite a few really young geniuses in our
    field, but also talented people whose careers and major
    achievements came later. “Career development” is
    really the main issue, not age. But I have no catchy
    titles to suggest for conferences.

  6. Perhaps we can move from the serious discussion and start suggesting ridiculous names. My submission:

    First Revolutionary People’s Topology Youth Congress and Hootenanny.

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