I was in Berkeley the other day, chatting with David Eisenbud about an upcoming Hot Topics workshop at MSRI, and it made me wonder: why don’t we have Cold Topics workshops? In the sense of “cold cases.” There are problems that the community has kind of drifted away from, because we don’t really know how to do them, but which are as authentically interesting as they ever were. Maybe it would be good to programatically focus our attention on those cold topics from time to time, just to see whether the passage of time has given us any new ideas, or cast these cold old problems in a new and useful light.
If this idea catches on, we could even consider having an NSF center devoted to these problems. The Institute for Unpopular Mathematics!
What cold topics workshops would you propose to me, the founding director of the IUM?