I have just got information that Feza Gursey Institute will be closed.
In the present letter, I shall try to explain, how unfortunate this decision is. I am a Polish scientist but my relations with Turkish mathematicians are quite close: by several scientific visits to METU and Bilkent, by participation at Antalya Algebra Days, by writing joint papers, and finally by promoting a PhD student from Turkey as a Doctor of Mathematics at Institute of Mathematics of Polish Academy od Sciences, where do I work as professor. This June I also visited FGI for 2 weeks, giving lectures for Turkish PhD students.
I do not think that young Turkish people are less gifted in mathematics than their foreign colleagues. We know examples of brillant PhD Theses by them – but written abroad. The main problem in Turkish mathematics is a lack of tradition in research. More, most mathematicians in Turkey, at universities, do not know how to carry research. Probably, this
is connected with the fact that almost all care is put on the didactic. People are evaluated according to their didactic; making research and publishing is a sort of hobby. But didactic without research leads to a scientific degeneration. This is not only my opinion; this opinion
was already expressed many years ago by the great German scientist Alexander von Humboldt.
FGI is a place, where Turkish mathematicians (especially the young ones) have occasion to be trained how to carry research. Universities are not able to teach this skill to them. It is here, in FGI, where Turkish mathematicians can meet researchers from all arround the world, follow their lectures, speak to them an learn – by examples – how to
work in research. Participation at conferences is not sufficient. A more systematic training at places like FGI is needed.
If Turkish Science wants to be healthy, then FGI is necessary for its health!
Institute of Mathematics
Polish Academy of Sciences
(August 8, 2011)