Dear conference participants,
I am sure that most of you have heard by now of the passing of our friend and colleague Eckart Viehweg on January 30 after a month-long struggle with cancer. On behalf of all the organizers, I wanted to write to you all concerning the question: should we hold this conference now, so soon after this sorrowful event?
Yesterday, the conference organizers sat together and tried to reach a decision. We considered the point of view, that so soon after Eckart's passing, it would make no sense simply to pretend that everything should go on as usual, and that it would be better to postpone the conference to a later date. We weighed against this our recognition that Eckart was one of the prime movers in organizing the conference, that he was very happily looking forward to it taking place, and that the conference itself was in many ways the fruition of years of work that Eckart had put into building mathematics at Essen and elsewhere throughout the world. In the end, our opinion tended strongly to the view that we could best honor Eckart by holding the conference as planned and dedicating this gathering of his friends, colleagues and fellow mathematicians to his memory.
We realize that some of you may feel we have made the wrong decision and the conference should have been postponed. We hope that all of you still come to the conference as planned and help make it an exciting one, as well as a modest tribute to Eckart's memory.