Sunday, October 16, 2011


I traveled to Oberwolfach with my advisor (Jon Wellner). The train trip is 2.5
hours from Heidelberg, quite easy. Oberwolfach is a really wonderful place,
a mathematician's heaven. The buildings are very modern/contemporary, with
huge glass windows and crisp, clean architecture. There is a library and
meeting building, a main residence building with a dining room, and another
residence hall.

Three meals are prepared each day by their cooks, and they are all very
delicious. For lunch and dinner there is a tradition of random seating, so
that people are forced to meet each other. It's a good idea, although, on
the other hand, math folks can be very quiet, so I had some nearly silent

The Oberwolfach staff also clean the rooms each day, and laundry machines are
availble in the buildings, so the whole setup is organized around being very convenient
for the weeklong workshops (which are running all year).

On Wednesday there is a tradition, I believe for all workshops, of going on a
hike to a nearby village and getting coffee and schwarzvald kirche (black
forest cake) which is cooked with kirsche-wasser, the cherry-liqueur of the
region. It was a great afternoon.

The statistics talks were, of course, really good. (They made me realize how
much there is yet to learn, though...!) I met almost everyone at the workshop
at least briefly.

An interesting tidbit: the institute was about to be destroyed by
French Moroccans at the end of WWII but an English Colonel who
had been sent to search for mathematicians commandeered it for the
English army to prevent that from happening.

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