August 27, 2020, was the day for the official opening of the new DNRF Center of Excellence GeoTop, led by Professor Nathalie Wahl from the University of Copenhagen. The center will focus on solving open mathematical problems at the crossroads between geometry and topology, such as how forest fires spread, to understanding the shape of the universe.
The former large medical-anatomical auditorium, now called Auditorium Large UP1, at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen, formed the setting for the official inauguration of the Center of Excellence for Geometry and Topology (GeoTop) last Thursday, August 27. The center’s vision is to address a number of basic and unanswered mathematical questions at the intersection between geometry and topology based on three mathematical concepts: modular spaces, geodesics, and singularities.
The guests were welcomed by Professor Michael Sørensen, head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, followed by the first speaker of the day, Rector of the University of Copenhagen, Henrik C. Wegener:
“I am very excited about the team that GeoTop has gathered and look forward to seeing what they will bring within the next six years. The essence of these concepts is difficult, but GeoTop’s research will help us understand the world around us and help make better predictions about the future,” said Wegener.
Afterward, the CEO of the DNRF Søren-Peter Olesen warmly congratulated Professor Nathalie Wahl and the entire team:
”Today we celebrate one of the best moments and that is the inauguration of a new Center of Excellence with a horizon of up to 10 years. We from the DNRF will certainly support you all we can, and I know the department is also strongly behind you. I have always been impressed with the apparently seamless collaboration between the DNRF grantees here and the department, and we look forward to being part of that in the future,” said Olesen.
The opening also included speakers such as the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Kathrine Krogh Andersen, as well as three of the center’s researchers: Professor Tobias Holck Colding from MIT, post-doc Markus Land from the University of Regensburg, and Oscar Randal-Williams from the University of Cambridge.
“At the department of mathematics, we have a proud tradition of outstanding research. It is my strong hope and expectation that GeoTop will succeed in doing brilliant research as well,” said Krogh Andersen.
Geometry, topology – and a yellow hat
Finally, head of center Nathalie Wahl took her place among the ranks of speakers. She offered an entertaining introduction to some of the core areas that the center will deal with over the coming years. In her speech, Wahl expressed great joy at having the opportunity to work with the center’s skilled and ambitious researchers. In addition, she pointed out that the heart of the center consists of a large group of young researchers and that the center needs them, especially because mathematics, according to Wahl, is very much about collaborating and talking things through and the young researchers can contribute new and important ideas that will benefit the center’s research.