Aims and Scope

The "Mathemisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach" regularly organizes workshops in all fields of Mathematics. Their aim is to bring together for each workshop between 40 and 50 experts, invited by the Institute’s Director, and give them the opportunity to present their recent research results, especially new methods, and to find inspiration and motivation for future research projects.

Mathematical research mainly studies the structure and inner relationships of mathematical objects and looks for the development of more comprehensive theories about them. Many mathematical questions are consequences of the effort to describe nature in mathematical terms, but it often happens that the mathematical frame was created before the appearance of the applications. The process of research, when successful, leads to mathematical theorems, whose proofs are typically complicated. The final write-up of a proof is usually best done at the home institute, but the development of a mathematical theory and, within such a theory, of a promising idea for a proof, is an extremely creative process depending very much on intuition and experience and benefiting from a broader participation.

Historically, coincidence also plays a big role. Improving the chances for progress by coincidence is one of the main purposes of the gatherings at the Oberwolfach Institute. When getting to know the background of an important result during a talk, one can suddenly have a flash of insight, perhaps leading to a considerable progress in one's own research. Small group discussions, inviting the fresh thoughts and comments of colleagues, can lead to sharing of these insights and finding the right direction for furhter work. Often it happens that two or three colleagues, during such discussions, become aware that they, though coming from different backgrounds and with different motivations, are interested in similar problems and are able to unify their ideas in order to establish a common research project.

All this happens nearly daily at these workshops. A great number of important papers have been initiated at Oberwolfach in this manner. Contrary to the typically large conferences all over the world, the small workshops at Oberwolfach emphasize active research where open questions are abound.

The Oberwolfach Reports are meant to capture, in an informal manner, the characteristic ideas and discussions of these workshops. As a service to the community, they are now offered by the Institute, at a nominal price, and allow the public to partake of the lively and stimulating atmosphere of these meetings. While the peer-rewiewed results will appear elsewhere, the Oberwolfach Reports will keep the reader abreast of current developments and open problems, and serve as an indispensable source of information for the active mathematician.


Gerhard Huisken, Tübingen
Director, Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach


Stephan Klaus
Scientific Administrator, Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach

Tatjana Ruf
Academic Assistant, Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach


The members of the Oberwolfach Scientific Committee are editors of OWR.

Editorial Office

Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach gGmbH
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77709 Oberwolfach