This week, I have been attending the 10th conference in the series of conferences on finite fields and their applications. These conferences are truly international having recently been hosted in Las Vegas, Melbourne, Dublin, and this time, in Ghent (Belgium). It was really nice to be back in Ghent, which I think of as my second home away from Australia. The organisers did a fantastic job, and the venue was the beautiful old monastery ‘Het Pand’. The only problem was the weather; for two days, we saw Belgium turn on its autumn weather just when we were getting used to nice summer weather. Apparently we had the coldest July 14 day since they started recording (1833)!

There were parallel sessions, so I didn’t get around to anything like a third of the talks, but I can report that the highlights for me were the excellent talks given by Frédéric Vanhove, Nicola Durante, Giuseppe Marino and Alice Devillers. This is, of course, a biased list; these talks were close to my own recent interests.

I gave a talk on some old work with Michael Pauley, which is essentially about a problem in incidence geometry, but finishes with an intriguing problem about certain polynomials over finite fields. I’ve attached the slides here.

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You forgot Geertrui Van de Voorde in your list of excellent talks…

Yes, thanks for that! Indeed, it was a very well structured and presented talk.