Conference diaries: Maine-Quebec Number Theory

On the coffee break on Saturday, there was cake! This was actually one of the conferences with the best baked goods I've ever been to, mainly because they were all homemade!

On the coffee break on Saturday, there was cake! This was actually one of the conferences with the best baked goods, mainly because they were all homemade!

Two weekends ago, I attended the Maine-Quebec Number Theory conference at the University of Maine in Orono. This year the conference was special in that it honored two of its co-founders, Claude Levesque and Chip Snyder, who have recently retired. I love attending the conference for a few reasons, but the main (Maine?) one is that I get to catch up with number theorists in the area and form some good connections. It doesn’t hurt that I can drive to it, that it’s short, and that there is support for lodging and a fancy lobster banquet!

Barry Mazur at the beginning of the talk. He was very excited, he told us, that he had figured out how to make hearts in LaTeX.

Barry Mazur at the beginning of the talk. He was very excited, he told us, that he had figured out how to make hearts in LaTeX.

There is not too much to say, however, about a short conference with lots of contributed talks (there were LOTS). I managed to give my talk without breaking the computer (something I had not managed before), although I definitely struggled with the 20-minute time limit. Barry Mazur gave a great plenary talk Sunday morning, and a heartfelt dedication to Levesque and Snyder. And for the first time I brought one of my undergraduates to a conference and she seemed to enjoy it (or at least that’s as much as she would share with me).  And as always, it was very nice to catch up with my friends and meet a few new people.

One of the things that’s so great about this conference is that it’s a specialized AND local conference, and so it develops a good network for collaborations and discussion. In short, it was a lovely experience, and I can’t wait for next year when it will be held at Universite Laval in Quebec City (and thus be called Quebec-Number Theory conference).

I know of at least AGNES in our area (the local algebraic geometry conference), and I know of the algebraic geometry and number theory conferences in other areas, so I’m glad this is happening in other places, too. So, dear readers, do you have a favorite local, specialized conference? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

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