Cheat Sheet for This Week’s JMM

Alexi JMM schedule

My “first draft” schedule for the 2014 JMM in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Joint Mathematics Meetings are being held this week in Seattle!  In the most recent blog post, Derek gave advice on how to navigate the JMM when you are on the job market and/or presenting your own research.  Here in this complementary post, you’ll find advice & resources for earlier-stage graduate students or first-time JMM attendees.

First, some useful links to get you ready to make the most of your JMM experience:

And some perennial JMM favorites to add to your schedule regardless of your area of interest:

  • AMS Colloquium talks (first talk is 1pm Wednesday): even if the talks are outside your main area of interest, attend the first and most accessible lecture in the series.  It’s an unusual experience to listen to a math lecture amongst an audience of one thousand!
  • Graduate Student/First-Timer’s reception (5:30pm-6:30pm Wednesday): highly recommended reception with delicious appetizers; it’s a great place for mixing and mingling after your first conference day and meeting other attendees and hearing about neat sessions, exhibits, talks, or events you might not have noticed on the extensive JMM program
  • Gibbs Lecture (8:30pm-9:30pm Wednesday): you will have time to grab dinner with your new friends (from the above reception) before snagging a good seat for this accessible lecture
  • Who wants to be a mathematician (Thursday morning): a national game-show style contest of the AMS
  • Joint Prize Session (4:25pm Thursday): hear about the award-winning works of mathematicians from across the country as prestigious prizes are handed out to this year’s prize recipients
  • Mathematically Bent Theater (6pm Friday): original math-themed theater performances are always an entertaining evening event; see a brief taste of what they do here
  • Exhibit hall: set aside at least half an hour to browse the booksellers, math art displays, software demos, and freebie giveaways.

And I’ll leave you with a piece of personal advice: Get off the Internet and embrace awkward encounters.

In order to maximize your chances of having interesting and productive encounters at the JMM, try to leave your comfort zone and interact with lots of new people.  If you let yourself always seek to minimize the awkwardness that you feel, you’ll probably end up spending a large portion of the JMM break time seated at one of the round tables and browsing the Internet.  But you can browse the Internet any day!  So unless you have a specific conference tidbit to look up, try to use your breaks putting yourself in awkwardness’s way by mixing and mingling with attendees you don’t know; the rewards are priceless and you will feel more comfortable the more you try it.  You traveled long and far to attend the JMM, and to really make the most of the conference experience, it’s best to minimize your browser and maximize the in-person aspect of the meetings.

Do you have JMM conference advice you’d like to share?  What’s your favorite part of the JMM?  Leave a comment below!

About Alexi

I am a math PhD student at Rutgers University. Photography, teaching, driving, and foreign languages are other passions of mine.
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