I just read the latest blog post on the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, and I want to say that I very much share the feelings of Adrian Dudek, who wrote it. I’m also going to attend the Forum, where the greatest Mathematicians and Computer Scientists of our time meet young researchers to share their knowledge and wisdom, and I guess of course to inspire future great research.
This summer I have been to two other conferences, the SIGMOD in New York and the IJCAI in Beijing, both great conferences in the fields of databases and artificial intelligence. While I was of course happy to be there, my excitement about the Forum is far greater than it was about those two. I still cannot really imagine the fact that I’m going to meet so many Turing, Abel, and Fields laureates in only a few days!
The big question for me at the moment is what to do after the PhD, and what factors there are to actually be able to decide this question. The ever-looming question that I guess I share with a lot of my fellow students is if one is able to do great research and still live a “normal” life, something that Adrian Dudek also asked in the post on the HLF blog. I guess it must be. I know of great researchers who did do things that were not part of their field: Donald Knuth randomly sampling the Bible in his book 3:16 is just one example that comes to mind. Still, in times of deadlines (which seem to be coming up and being missed constantly), it is easy to forget this and you start assuming that the way to go is to publish even more papers on even better conferences. On the other hand, I naturally do not do this kind of work and see it just as work that “needs to be done”, but really enjoy doing it! This is exactly what makes reaching a balance really tricky. Let’s see what my peers have to say about this, and of course how the Laureates managed to answer this.
Ah, and of course I’m also really looking forward to the more “programmatic” aspect of the Forum, where the greatest scientists of my field present and discuss their work, and share their new ideas. This still sounds quite unreal to me!