A Celebration of Raoul Bott's Legacy
in Mathematics
Organizer: Robert Kotiuga (Boston University)

Given that Raoul Bott was born in 1923, many of his contemporaries are still active but finding it more difficult to travel. After Bott was awarded an honorary doctorate from McGill in 1987, and anecdotes from his Montreal days were documented [1,4,5], many in the mathematical community became intrigued by his time in Montreal. We hope to have some of Bott's early colleagues work some of the poorly documented but noteworthy history into the sidelines of the conference without distracting from the forward-looking mathematical agenda.

The conference is neither a memorial conference, nor a historical conference. The fact that Bott's presence is still fresh in the minds of all involved makes for a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. Some of the arguments for having this conference:

  • Bott has many prominent colleagues from the 1940s and 50s who are keen to come and contribute. They also generate a considerable amount of interest amongst two younger generations of mathematicians. It is unreasonable to expect  these octogenarians to be as keen in future years.

  • Speakers who can give talks at the forefront of research, from five decades of Bott’s Ph.D. students have been recruited. It would be much harder to get  excellent forward looking talks from his students and coauthors had we waited.

  • In general, mathematicians have great difficulty talking about another mathematician’s work. It is easiest to talk about another mathematician’s work in the context of one’s own. Given this reality of human nature, it is really wonderful to have so many of Bott’s students, coauthors, and fellow kindred spirits willing to give research talks.