Five Reasons


One of today’s conference talks was excellent. It was by Alex Schrijver, entitled Graph and Knot Invariants; this was the first time I’ve seen him talk.

Top five reasons I liked this talk:

5. Schrijver is best known (I think) for his work in combinatorial optimization (including a 3-book series that spans the whole discipline) and even though this talk was outside of that field it was still pimptacular.
4. Used overheads better than most people use powerpoint: he had layering effects and used two projectors to keep a cache of information visible, which was helpful. Also, sweet diagrams.
3. Gave graph-theoretic motivation for algebra (the whole talk, basically) and algebraic motivation for graph theory (characterizing invariant rings on group algebras).
2. The main results were clean and mysterious and apparently have elegant proofs. Plus, you could actually understand what he was talking about for most of the talk.
1. Talk contained phrase “keep it real” (in reference to not using complex numbers).


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