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3rd Nordic EWM Summer School for PhD Students in Mathematics
University of Turku, Finland, June 22-27, 2009
History and Goals
This will be the 3rd Nordic EWM summer school. The first summer school was arranged in Luleň in 1996, and the second was arranged in Gothenburg in 2003.

Both of the previous summer schools had a similar format as this one: Minicourses on various subjects taught by invited lectures, supplemented by talks on mathematics and gender, and by seminars given by students.

Our goal is to provide a stimulating intellectual environment for PhD students from different countries and different mathematical diciplines to learn new mathematics and meet new colleagues. We expect that much of the long-term benefit of the meeting will come from the personal contacts established and the exchange of ideas taking place during informal discussions. We hope that these contacts will help the forming and development of a network for PhD students in the European countries and between PhD students and established mathematicians.

After the 2003 summer school, newsletter editor Sofie Castella collected memories and opinions from some of the students in the EWM newsletter (number 11, 2004).

The 2nd Nordic Summer School from the Participant's Point of View
by Sofie Castella, Newsletter Editor

"I remember the summer school as a good, hot and summery week in Gothenburg."

This sentence describes my memories of the summer school well, though it is not my words. When I decided to do a piece for the newsletter about the summer school from the participants' point of view, I wrote every participant and asked them to write a few lines about their thoughts on the event. And the above sentence seems to have captured not only the authors and my memories, but also the general mood and atmosphere of that week.

"Relaxed and friendly atmosphere, which makes it easy to exchange ideas and experiences."
"There was a very relaxed atmosphere, which I experienced very safe (not that I normally walk around being scared, but still)."
"There existed a mood of wanting to give each other self-confidence. And it helped."

The summer school gave us as participants a lot on the academic side, such as concrete inspiration on further work and practise on giving conference talks.

"I appreciated the opportunity to present my own research in front of a smaller, informal crowd."

For those who weren't Ph.D. students the summer school seems to have been an eye opener for the Ph.D. possibility.

"Many of us left with a feeling of it definitely being possible to obtain a Ph.D. scholarship, even though we do not have only top grades."
"One good thing about the summer school was the motivation I got to continue my mathematical education."
"Academically it also contributed to kill some prejudice, because it all became much more down to earth and I for example found that no one knows everything about everything, which I had imagined one should as a researcher."

During the summer school gender discussions were many.

"I have never really thought that the fact of being part of a minority would be a problem. (..) Not only the experiences ("oh, I thought I was the only one") that many of us shared, but also the gender course convinced me that organising a summer school only for girls was justified."
"It opened my eyes to the problems that can arise, when being a female in a "male" field, problems that I haven't experienced myself yet."
"It contributed to killing some prejudices about whether it is bearable to be the only woman at a mathematical institute (it doesn't appear to be as bad as I had thought)."
These discussions, and others, took place during organised sessions, or on a trek in the archipelago, a stroll down the center of Gothenburg, or in the coffee break.

"A good way of getting to know other mathematicians and their research. It was a good way of making contacts and discussing mathematics."
"We were also given time to get to know each other and we have all stayed in contact since then. A very fruitful and inspiring event!"
Goals of the summer school posted by the organizers were among others the following:

These goals were achieved as you could read from the participants' own formulations. Of course each participant had a different experience, but there certainly are many positive experiences around the Nordic mathematics departments.