The Western Algebraic Geometry Symposium (WAGS) is a biannual meeting of algebraic geometers in the western part of North America. WAGS aims to build a regional community among algebraic geometers of all career stages, from advanced undergraduates to full professors. The meetings are centered around research talks delivered by leading mathematicians from around the world highlighting exciting recent results in and around algebraic geometry. In addition to the research talks, the typical WAGS also includes poster sessions and/or other organized opportunities for interaction among participants. For more information regarding past or upcoming WAGS, please toggle through the various WAGS webpages in the menu.
If you are a student who has never attended WAGS but have an interest in algebraic geometry and are wondering if this is a conference that could benefit you, please read the Tips for Students below (spoiler alert: you, yes YOU, should attend the next WAGS!).
Our Community Agreement
The Western Algebraic Geometry Symposium aims to create an environment that is stimulating, supportive, and welcoming to all participants. We build that environment through our community, with each of us playing an active role in creating a positive experience for all. We ask you to be welcoming, respectful, and generous towards all participants and to recognize that it is your responsibility to ensure that your actions match your intent. Discriminatory, exclusionary, or harassing behavior has no place at WAGS. If you have experienced or witnessed behavior that makes you uncomfortable, please reach out to a member of the organizing council or fill out the feedback form below, which can be done anonymously. All reports will be handled in the strictest confidentiality.
Long term planning for WAGS is currently being organized by Nick Addington, Roya Beheshti-Zavareh, Angie Cueto, José González, Dusty Ross, Karl Schwede, Farbod Shokrieh, and Mark Shoemaker.
WAGS is partially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Feedback and Speaker Nominations
If you would like to submit general feedback to help improve the success of WAGS, we would very much appreciate hearing from you; please fill out the WAGS Feedback Form. (For feedback regarding a specific WAGS that you recently attended, please fill out the feedback form linked from that page.)
If you would like to nominate speakers for future WAGS (self-nominations included), please fill out the Speaker Nomination Form.
The Western Algebraic Geometry Symposium traces its origins back to the Utah-UCLA Algebraic Geometry Seminar started in 1989 by H. Clemens, D. Gieseker, M. Green, J. Kollár, R. Lazarsfeld, Z. Ran and M.-C. Chang. Later on, it became the Utah-UCLA-Chicago Algebraic Geometry Seminar. As senior figures moved east, the original WAGS faded away, before being resurrected in 2002. In the 2010's decade WAGS was steered by Aaron Bertram, Sebastian Casalaina-Martin, Renzo Cavalieri, Edray Goins, Dagan Karp, Sándor Kovács, Ravi Vakil, Bianca Viray, and Burt Totaro.
Tips for Students
Why should I attend WAGS?
As a student and as an early-career researcher, attending conferences is one of the best ways to expose yourself to cutting-edge research and to build a broad community of folks with similar mathematical interests. Even though you may not understand the talks at first, you’ll begin to hear familiar words and you’ll start to see what experts in the field get visibly excited about, providing you with concepts and ideas to look into and learn more about. In addition to the talks, you’ll have ample opportunity at WAGS to get to know other students and faculty in the region with similar interests; it’s likely that these folks will go on to become your friends, collaborators, and mentors who will help shape your career in mathematics.
Do I have the background knowledge to attend WAGS?
In general, you should start attending seminars and conferences earlier than you think you should. If you’ve already started learning the basics of algebraic geometry (for example, if you’ve taken a course on varieties and ideals) and you think you might be interested in doing research in or around algebraic geometry, then we welcome you to join our WAGS community. Even if you’re in the early stages of your algebraic geometry learning and the talks are full of words that you don’t know how to carefully define, attending the talks and discussing them with other participants will grant you a glimpse of the horizon where the exciting research is happening, and this glimpse will give you direction and purpose in your own learning.
Will I understand the talks at WAGS?
Almost certainly not entirely, and that’s ok! We encourage all of our speakers to recognize the breadth of our audience, and to do their best to communicate the big ideas of their work in a way that’s accessible to everyone, while still giving the experts in the audience a peek at the deeper story. This is a very difficult task to accomplish in just an hour, and the speakers are brave and generous for attempting it. Because the speakers are communicating to people with widely varying backgrounds and interests, no one will understand every word of the talks at WAGS. This is on purpose. Unlike a class, whose goal is to convey details and methods and practical know-how, the goal of a research talk is to give the audience just a taste of some of the objects and questions and pictures related to their work. Try not to get tripped up, or to allow your sense of belonging to be shaken, if the details of a talk don’t make sense to you. Just by hearing new mathematical words, as well as familiar mathematical words strung together in new ways, you’re learning more than you think you are.
For general advice on attending research talks, we recommend having a look at the “On seminars” section of Ravi Vakil’s advice for PhD students. In particular, we recommend the “three things” exercise.
Can I get funding to attend WAGS?
I’ve never been to a math conference before; how should I dress?