Participant Testimonials

Feb 12 - Feb 17, 2012

Participation in the BIRS workshop was extremely helpful for me. Being an outsider to the field of left-orderability helped to make me aware of the important questions and gave me some new ideas to think about. Furthermore, I was able to meet many new mathematicians that I had not met before and was thus able to learn a great deal of new things from them; there was also a lot of opportunity to speak more with people I had already met - it was particularly helpful to have so many of them all in the same place! I also started a new project with someone based on the discussions that were facilitated at BIRS, which seems quite promising.

Tye Lidman Mathematics, UCLA

Yes, the BIRS workshop was very productive for me. In my talk, I said slightly jokingly, no doubt Dave Witte Morris (one of the participants) should be able to finish this off using his techniques. However Dave made a very clever comment in my talk, and then we got together and finished the problem off. I believe we have proved a significant result, which we wouldn't have done without the workshop. At this time I'm writing a joint paper with Dave.

Peter Linnell Mathematics, Virginia Tech

The workshop brought together around the orderable groups people from different fields ranking from low dimensional topology to algorithmic group theory, through the dynamical systems. The quality of the lectures as well as the conversations among the participants were exceptional from my point of view. It is a bit early to say how this workshop will influence my research. The only concrete fact in this direction is a draft of collaboration with Cristobal Rivas. However, the amount of information I learned from the lectures and the conversations as well as the new contacts I made during the week will definitively help me in my research, but I cannot predict how and when.

Luis Paris Professor
IMB, UMR 5584, Université de Bourgogne

We had an extremely productive meeting. Although I was originally concerned that we had only a half workshop, I now realize that it was in many ways an advantage to have a more intimate group. We had a very good mix of old hands, younger mathematicians and graduate students -- female experts and persons from as far as Japan, France and Chile. Even less than a week after the workshop, I know of at least two publications which are direct results of collaboration last week at BIRS -- by Dave Morris ( and Patrick Dehornoy (still in progress). Other people collaborated in small groups working on aspects of the subject of our meeting, between talks an in the evenings. For myself, I spent virtually every free hour in a new collaboration with the Harvard grad student Thomas Koberda on an open problem regarding the space of orderings of a free group (not yet solved, but we're still hard at work on it). I would like to thank the staff at BIRS for helping to create an environment in which mathematicians can maximize their research interaction. It was such a pleasure!

Dale Rolfsen Professor
University of British Columbia