Since their inception, the study of symplectic structures and the applications of symplectic techniques
(as well as their odd-dimensional contact geometric counterparts) have benefited from a strong
extraneous motivation. Symplectic concepts have been developed to solve problems in other fields
that have resisted more traditional approaches, or they have been used to provide alternative and
often conceptionally simpler or unifying arguments for known results. Outstanding examples are
property P for knots, Cerf's theorem on diffeomorphisms of the 3-sphere, and the theorem of
Lyusternik-Fet on periodic geodesics.
The aim of the CRC is to bring together, on the one hand, mathematicians who have been socialized in
symplectic geometry and, on the other, scientists working in areas that have proved important for the cross-fertilization
of ideas with symplectic geometry, notably dynamics and algebra. In addition, the
CRC intends to explore connections with fields where, so far, the potential of the symplectic viewpoint
has not been fully realized or, conversely, which can contribute new methodology to the study of
symplectic questions (e.g. optimization, computer science).
The CRC bundles symplectic expertise that will allow us to make substantive progress on some of the
driving conjectures in the field, such as the Weinstein conjecture on the existence of periodic Reeb
orbits, or the Viterbo conjecture on a volume bound for the symplectic capacity of compact convex
domains in R^2n.
The latter can be formulated as a problem in systolic geometry and is related to the Mahler conjecture in convex geometry.
The focus on symplectic structures and techniques will provide coherence to what is in effect a group
of mathematicians with a wide spectrum of interests.