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 Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Department of Mathematics hosts prestigious conference
by Judith Packer, professor of mathematics

The Great Plains Operator Theory Symposia series (GPOTS) spans three decades, and has become a premier conference series in the mathematical fields of operator theory that hosts 100 to 150 participants each year. The series has consistently focused on important new developments and exciting open problems to stimulate the operator community, especially new researchers in the early part of their careers. During 2009, the symposium was run as a cornerstone of a “special year” at CU-Boulder, with additional talks and colloquia held throughout the year. The organizing committee also sponsored training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of both CU and sister institutions.

In February 2009, the National Science Foundation announced a grant of $64,533 to the Department of Mathematics. This grant, "GPOTS Special Meetings 2009/2010 - High-Altitude Training for the Next Generation of Operator Theorists and Operator Algebraists," continues to assist the department in the organization of the special year and conference in the Great Plains Operator Symposium Series for 2009-2010, together with organizers from the department of mathematics at the University of Denver, which was awarded a similar NSF grant for 2010-2011. The principal investigator and co-investigators are Carla Farsi (principal investigator), Alexander Gorokhovsky, Judith Packer, Markus Pflaum, and Martin Walter of the department of mathematics. Farsi noted how enjoyable it is to see old friends and make new connections. “It is always fun to see young people who are excited to enter our field,” she said.

Opened by Interim Provost and Professor Stein Sture, the 2009 GPOTS Conference was held June 2-6, and was attended by more than 122 participants. The conference was sponsored by generous grants from the Department of Mathematics, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research, the Council for Research and Creative Works, and the Dean's Fund for Excellence at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Gene Abrams, professor of mathematics at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a President’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar, came up for a day and said, “I enjoyed my day in Boulder, re-established some contacts – I hadn't seen Iain Raeburn or Paul Muhly in a few years – and came away with a few ideas.” Raul Curto, professor at the University of Iowa and executive dean and director of diversity of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, remarked, “It was a magnificent conference.”

In addition to the mathematical lectures, the conference had several agenda items of interest, including a luncheon for women mathematicians, which was attended by Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), Sallye McKee. She spoke to the 25 women participants about the role of women in the fields of science and technology, and the possibilities and challenges for women who also take on administrative duties. In addition, the symposium had an hour-long panel for graduate student attendees. With the NSF grant, the organizers were able to partially sponsor the travel expenses for approximately 40 students.

The organizers fully expect more training events to take place during the course of the spring semester leading up to the 30th Annual GPOTS Conference, which will be held June 14-18, 2010 at the University of Denver.

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