History of the Yamabe Memorial Symposium


Professor Hidehiko Yamabe (1924-1960) came to Minnesota from IAS as an assistant professor in 1956. During his four years here he worked on a number of diverse topics in geometry and analysis: he initiated the problem of whether, given a Riemannian metric on a smooth compact manifold of dimension > 2, there exists a conformally equivalent metric of constant scalar curvature; he made contributions to Hilbert's 5th problem and various diffusion problems. Yamabe died in 1960, at age 37, of a massive stroke, said to have been brought on by war injuries as a civilian. This tragedy happened soon after he was appointed a full professor at Northwestern University. Yamabe's widow and two young daughters were left virtually penniless as Yamabe no longer had a pension from Minnesota and hadn't yet gained one from Northwestern. Faculty of both Northwestern and Minnesota raised a small amount of money to help the family, who then moved back to Japan.

The Yamabe Memorial Lecture was initiated jointly with Northwestern about 1962. It consisted of one lecture by a prominent mathematician each year, to alternate between Northwestern (odd numbered years) and Minnesota (even years). It was soon supported by a small subsidy from Yamabe's widow (this initial donation was later augmented in Minnesota by significant faculty contributions resulting in the present endowment called the Yamabe Fund). The distinguished speakers brought in year after year established the Lectures as an important event in the mathematical calendar, especially in the Midwest.

Past speakers include Neil Trudinger, Eugenio Calabi, Rick Schoen, Shizuo Kakutani, Craig Evans, Walter Rudin, Robert Hardt, Katsumi Nomizu, Fred Gehring, Richard Hamilton, Peter Sarnak, Jeff Cheeger, Shing-Tung Yau, Terence Tao, Igor Rodnianski, Luis Caffarelli, Tai-Ping Liu, Sergiu Klainerman and Simon Brendle.

 Hidehiko & Etsuko Yamabe

hidehiko and Etsuko -yamabe

Hidehiko, Etsuko & Kimiko Yamabe



Hidehiko Yamabe (right)


Yamabe over the Years:

The 1st Symposium:

 Geometry & Analysis 

Friday - Sunday, September 20 - 22, 2002

Speakers: Hubert Bray, Ben Chow, Richard Hamilton, Peter Li, Fang-Hua Lin, Richard Schoen, Gang Tian & Brian White.

The 2nd Symposium:

Geometry & Physics 

Friday - Sunday, September 17 - 19, 2004.

Speakers: Robert Bryant, Sheldon Katz, Kefeng Liu, Duong Phong, Paul Seidel, Isadore M. Singer, Karen Uhlenbeck & Shing-Tung Yau.

The 3rd Symposium

Geometry & Symplectic Topology 
Friday - Sunday, September 15-17, 2006.
Speakers:Denis Auroux, Yasha Eliashberg, Ron Fintushel, Yongbin Ruan, Peter Ozsváth,Helmut Hofer, Dusa McDuff, & Mikio Furuta.

The 4th Symposium:

Geometry and Analysis 

Friday-Sunday, September 26 - 28, 2008.

Speakers: Simon Brendle, Alice Chang, Gerhard Huisken, Ngaiming Mok, Leon Simon, Yum-Tong Siu, Neil Trudinger and Burkhard Wilking

The 5th Symposium:

Geometry and Low-Dimensional Topology

Friday - Sunday, October 8 - 10, 2010.

Speakers:Toby Colding, Kenji Fukaya, David Gabai, Ian Hambleton, Claude LeBrun, Melissa Liu, Yi Ni & Ron Stern.

The 6th Symposium:

Geometric Analysis 50th Anniversary

Friday - Sunday, October 5 - 7, 2012.

Speakers: Huaidong Cao,Ben Weinkove, Benson Farb, Jean-Pierre Demailly, Robert Hardt, Conan Leung, Misha Kapovich & Natasa Sesum .

The 7th Symposium:

Current Topics in Three-Manifolds

Friday - Sunday, October 17 - 9, 2014.

Speakers: Ian Agol,  Mladen Bestvina,  Ursula Hamenstaedt, Jeremy Khan, Ciprian Manolescu, Vlad Markovic, Mahan Mj, & Stefano Vidussi.

The 8th Symposium:

Symplectic Geometry and Complex Geometry 

Friday-Sunday, September 30 - October 2, 2016

Speakers: Paul Biran, Mark McLean, Emmy Murphy, Kaoru Ono, Valentino Tosatti, Claire Voisin, Chris Wendl, and Sai Kee Yeung.

The 9th Symposium:

Geometric Analysis 50th Anniversary

Friday September 28 - September 30, 2018 

Speakers: Dan Abramovich, Robert Friedman,Jun Li,Shigeru Mukai, Aaron Pixton, Yukinobu Toda, Chenyiang Xu & Alina Marian