In a Quaint German Town, Mathematicians Converge

You’d like Heidelberg.

I mean, maybe you wouldn’t. Do woodland landscapes enrage you? Are you repulsed by chocolatiers and scenic castles? Do you shudder at the thought of nibbling on a handmade sphere of marzipan and nougat cream?

If so, Heidelberg is not for you.


As for me, it’s pretty heavenly.

I’m here as an invited blogger to cover the fourth annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Huge thanks to the HLF team for inviting me—and to the year 2016 for making “invited blogger” my bizarre unearned reality.

The HLF is a meeting of minds. Those minds include:

  • 22 Laureates from the highest echelons mathematics and computer science, ranging from the “father of the internet” (Vincent Cerf) to the man who solved Fermat’s Last Theorem (Sir Andrew Wiles)


  • 200 Young Researchers, whose work spans every area of math and computer science, and who hail from 56 countries including Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Slovakia, Singapore, South Africa, Serbia, and Saint Kitts & Nevis—and that’s just the S’s.


I’m here to watch, to listen—and to eat handmade spheres of marzipan and nougat cream.

The conference’s goal is a simple one: to build community. Today’s grand masters will share meals, conversations, and offhand wisdom with tomorrow’s research leaders.

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Math Exams with Only One Question


According to legend, this was once the actual  final exam at my high school. But according to legend, England chose kings by sword-yanking contests, so, you know.

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