IWOTA 2023 Conference in Helsinki

I had the honor of opening the legendary IWOTA conference at University of Helsinki on July 31, 2023. You can read my opening address below, including a JOKE!

I gave my own talk as well in the minisymposium on inverse problems, organized by Lauri Oksanen and Tony Liimatainen. Here are my slides (PDF 16MB) in case you want to take a look. Here is one of the key slides in my presentation:

Opening address of IWOTA 2023 by Vice Dean Samuli Siltanen

Good morning! I’m glad to see all of you in Finland, the happiest country in the world according to the United Nations. On such a rainy July day it may not seem that way in the faces on the streets but it’s true. 

My name is Samuli Siltanen and I represent Faculty of Science of University of Helsinki. I’m a vice dean as well as professor of mathematics. On behalf of the faculty it’s my great pleasure to welcome the legendary IWOTA conference and all of you experts. 

At University of Helsinki, mathematical studies started already in 1640 when the university was founded. The last 120 years or so have been increasingly productive research-wise. First there was a school of complex analysis that developed into current quasiconformal theory. Other strong themes appeared as well, including mathematical physics, inverse problems, logic, and statistics. They all make heavy use of operators. So University of Helsinki is happy to host the first Finnish IWOTA. 

Operator theory is such a wonderful field of mathematics. There is deep beauty in infinite dimensional spaces and how they may be mapped to each other. Numerous applications use the pure results and create new theoretical questions. Operators play a central role in control theory, quantum physics, numerical mathematics and countless other fields. 

Including music: I am of course talking about the 1984 hit song by Sade: SMOOTH OPERATOR (video below)

In my own work concerning inverse problems of medical imaging I’ve encountered operators in Banach spaces such as

  • singular integral operators as convolutions with fundamental solutions 
  • Nonlinear Fourier transforms from dbar equations
  • Nonlinear evolutions defined via scattering transforms

I’m not an expert on operator theory but rather an end user with profound appreciation of it. I’m curious to see what this week has to offer.

Have a wonderful mathematical week! And take some time to explore the city as well; or hike in the national parks you can reach by public transport in 40 minutes. We will be seeing each other as I am also participating the conference. Ask me for details. 

Once more, on behalf of the Faculty of Science: welcome! We are so happy to see you all here. 

About The Author