"Statistics is more religious than religion." - Alessandro Antonucci.
"Stab him with the wax crayons!" - Gero Walter
Greetings from Austria! The weather here is terrible, but the maths is good and the beer is better.
One thing I find particularly useful about conferences, and the bi-annual ISIPTA conference in particular, is how well they work as a measure of one's mathematical progress. My first ISIPTA conference, back in Prague in 2007, was thoroughly baffling. Durham in 2009 was difficult. This time around, I feel like I've finally gotten a handle on what's going on. My head and my notebook are both filled with ideas for future research and potential collaborations, and to my great surprise I'm actually starting to find myself with "opinions" on things. It's a scary prospect.
I'd also like to take a moment to note a fairly major moment in my mathematical career: taking a silver at the IJAR Young Researcher Awards. The competition was monumentally tough, and all three of the researchers sharing the silver whose work I've read (Drs. Rebecca Baker and Nathan Huntley, both of whom show up on this blog from time to time, along with Gero Walter) are exceptionally talented (far more than I am). Given how good they are, I can't imagine how exceptional Bernhard Schmelzer must be (I haven't read anything of his yet) to have taken the gold. Congratulations all round, and particularly to Bernhard.
(Nathan, alas, was unable to attend the conference, so we've replaced him with Jasper de Bock, so as to keep the amount of hair on display roughly constant. Jasper received an Honorable Mention, and deservedly so, his mathematics career is just beginnng, but already his work is astonishingly impressive).
Our apologies to David Sungdren, who was missed off the photo above because no-one bothered to tell us he had won a silver award as well. I don't have any knowledge of his work either; clearly it's time to rectify that.