The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 115

CHAPTER 17 A Dream Program Becomes a Reality William Langford “It is hard now to imagine Canadian mathematics without the Fields Institute.” In 1990 I learned that a few dedicated Canadian mathematicians were working to create a mathematics research institute in Ontario—an institute with no permanent research staff that would host limited-term thematic programs and workshops in specific areas of current importance, where the best Canadian and international researchers could work together. Graduate students and postdocs were to be involved. Having participated at similar institutes in Germany, France, and the U.S.A., I thought this was a wonderful idea. I contacted John Chadam (McMaster) and Bill Shadwick (Waterloo) to offer my support. To my surprise, a number of our mathematical colleagues saw this idea as a waste of time, an impossible dream, with no chance of success in the political