I wanted to take a moment to plug a conference in my soon-to-be hometown Eugene, OR organized by my once and future colleague Nick Proudfoot.

Aside from Eugene being lovely in August, I felt this conference was worth a post because it’s something of a unique format. Rather than being a bunch of experts on the subject (as it says in the title, the subject is the conjunction of operator algebras and CFT) getting together and giving talks that only they understand, it will be aimed at being educational for graduate students and interested non-experts (such as myself). The format is a bit similar to that of Talbot. In particular, in addition to an organizer (Nick) it has a “leader” who is in charge of mathematical content (but will delegate quite a few of the lectures); that will be the incomparable Andre Henriques.

The workshop is structured around Wasserman’s paper Operator algebras and conformal field theory III, but a more detailed list of topics is also posted online. This workshop is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about conformal field theory, loop groups, and generally how operator algebras and representation theory interact. Even better, they have some money, so if you need support, you can email Nick, and perhaps I’ll see you there.

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As mathematics research gets more fragmented and

specialized, more such workshops plus short courses,

summer schools, and the like are needed (but cost

money). It’s always been easiest to organize a

standard conference where everyone already knows

each other and talks advertise the latest preprints.

(On the other hand, August in Eugene used to be the

time when seed growers burned off their fields to kill

insects. Then one needed headlights at noon to drive

in the Willamette Valley, which is closed in by mountains

on three sides.)

This looks like a fascinating conference — I’m definitely planning to be there.

The format is also similar to Oberwolfach’s Arbeitsgemeinschaft (Working Group) programs. And actually, this is also similar in topic to the one Arbeitsgemeinschaft I’ve attended, on Algebraic Structures and Conformal Field Theories …