I've heard great things about the warmth and excitement of the First Joint
AMS-India meeting, combining the great traditions of mathematics in India and
the West. I was planning to go myself both to the main meeting and to one of the
interesting shoulder conferences, but in the end I was unable because of illness in
my family. However, I've had the pleasure of visiting India before (and I hope to
go again!) so I have at least a sense of the interesting and lively scene that must
have greeted the participants.
Despite the ease of email communication (people say that if your collaborator
isn't in the office down the hall, it's best if she (let us say) is on the opposite side of
the globe, so that one can use all twenty-four hours!), I think there's no substitute
for a personal visit. For me, at least, getting a little sense of the other, and of
the world in which she works, greatly deepens my interest and helps me extend
my view in new directions. In this way I'm afraid the Indians are well ahead of
the Americans: a large proportion of Indian mathematicians have come to visit the
West, but rather few American mathematicians have been to India. From what
I've heard from returning Americans and from the records, the AMS-India meeting
was a good step toward changing that, and helping the two communities, so rich in
talented people, realize the potential for collaboration.
David Eisenbud
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