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Susanne Reffert | IPMU | Japan

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Thanks, Mr. Simons!

This week, I am attending the workshop “Branes and Bethe Ansatz in Supersymmetric Gauge Theories” at the brand-new Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stony Brook. While the theoretical physicists and mathematicians at the State University of New York in Stony Brook have been a force to be reckoned with for some time already, this new center came into being thanks to a large donation by Jim Simons. Simons, a successful mathematician (the one of Chern-Simons), had later in life made a fortune with his extremely successful hedge fund management company Renaissance Technologies, and he continues to support science generously. Upon entering the shiny new Simons Center, it becomes clear immediately that this is a well-funded place. We are fed breakfast, lunch cooked by an excellent chef in the center’s own cafe, and oven-fresh cookies during coffee break.
Scientifically, this workshop has been a success. Among many others, we’ve also had the chance to hear the talks of two Fields Medal winners.

Of course, nothing in life is free. I had to pay for all this by suffering through a 12+ hour flight and an 11 hour jet lag (the biggest I have come across so far).

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