Marian Gidea summaries Tipping Points: Fundamentals and Applications Workshop

An intense and stimulating couple of events took place at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS), Edinburgh, UK, between September 9 and September 14, 2013. The first event was a workshop on Tipping Points: Fundamentals and Applications, organized by Marian Gidea (Yeshiva University), Jan Sieber (University of Exeter), Mary Silber (Northwestern University), Sebastian Wieczorek (University of Exeter). The second was a SAVI-MCRN meeting organized by C.K.R.T. Jones (University of North Carolina).

The workshop, devoted to critical transitions in complex systems, brought together a unique mix of mathematicians, statisticians, climate and financial scientists, and ecologists, ranging from well-established professors and researchers to postdocs and graduate students. The format of the workshop included overview lectures, research talks, posters, focus groups and discussions with the goal to foster a dynamic dialogue across areas of specialty as well as across generations. In an engaging atmosphere, the workshop participants examined a number of key topics such as sensitivity and predictability of climate, vegetation patterns and desertification, bubbles and crashes in financial markets, voltage collapses in power grids, ice-albedo effects on sea ice, etc. There were also several discussions groups, based on a number of problems and research directions that were identified by the entire body of participants. It is expected that these discussions will evolve into concrete projects, where junior researchers will have a chance to partner with more senior ones in accomplishing the research objectives. More details on the workshop, including presentations slides and discussion summaries, can be found at

The workshop was followed by a SAVI-MCRN meeting devoted to reporting and coordinating the collaboration between MCRN and its partners from Canada and Europe. It also provided an additional opportunity for the participating early career faculty, graduate students and postdocs to discuss their work and map out future research agendas.


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