Daily Archives: January 6, 2016

The Swag Guide to the Exhibit Hall

You know why you’re really here: exhibit hall swag. No trip to the Joint Meetings is complete without a trip around the exhibit hall. You’ll probably run into an old friend, and you can pick up some free stuff. You can get pens and candy pretty much everywhere, but some of the booths have some more exciting items. If you only have a few minutes to make a pass through, here are my picks for the top swag.

My JMM swag haul. Not pictured: large quantities of candy. (The Pi Mu Epsilon booth has Heath bars!)

My JMM swag haul. Not pictured: large quantities of candy. (The Pi Mu Epsilon booth has Heath bars!)

Right at the entrance, Maplesoft is handing out blinky light clip things. The nice man at the booth said you can use it to be a little more visible if you’re out walking in the dark or just to spice up a boring outfit. Maplesoft is also holding drawing for three gömböcs, odd little solids with two equilibrium points, one stable and one unstable. You can enter the drawing at the entrance to the Networking Center on the 4th floor (4D).

DeShaw is handing out umbrellas, and Pearson has some reusable water bottles. Sage is handing out some stickers, Tessellations has free bookmarks, and the Heidelberg Laureate Forum will hook you up with a keychain. The NSA booth has Cubebots (existence of a surveillance device inside is neither confirmed nor denied, mostly because I didn’t ask). 

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Cubebot may be watching you.

The Legacy of R.L. Moore booth has lots of free resources about inquiry-based learning and the man himself. I (and many others) feel uncomfortable about how much reverence is shown to Moore, a famous racist who deliberately put up barriers to black students, but there’s no doubt that the Moore method and IBL have had a huge impact on my mathematical life.

As they have the past few years, Elsevier is providing free massages. (If you’re participating in the Elsevier boycott, you might have to decide whether it extends to free massages.)

The MAA doesn’t have any outstanding swag, but while supplies last, they are selling some slightly used books for $5 or $8. I picked up a copy of Studies in Global Geometry and Analysis, edited by S.S. Chern.

The American Statistical Association has a pretty good spread. I got a copy of Significance magazine and a math-themed magnetic poetry set (to complement the one I already have at home!). I passed on the cloud-shaped stress ball, but it was cute.

As usual, the AMS booth packs a swaggy punch. I saw yo-yos, magnets, sticky notes, coasters, foam hands, and calendars, including my favorite, the calendar of mathematical imagery. But my favorite item might be the maze pen, available in a wide range of colors.

The perfect pen for after you get lost in a talk.

The perfect pen for after you get lost in a talk.

Until 5 pm tonight (January 6), you can also enter a drawing to win a $100 AMS bookstore gift certificate.

I somehow missed the Math Reviews booth, but I have it on good authority that they are handing out fold-up frisbees, post-it notes, and even t-shirts if you agree to have your picture taken and posted on MathSciNet.

While you’re in the exhibit hall, make sure to enjoy the art gallery as well. If you want to follow along at home, the art exhibit has a page on the Bridges website.

Did I miss your favorite swag? Let me know where I can pick it up!

Origami AWESOME

Dr. Thomas Hull

Dr. Thomas Hull

First stop: Origami!  My JMM math fun began today with a “Folding compact manifolds without boundary” by Thomas Hull, part of the AMS Special Session on Origami Methods and Applications.  This was a fascinating talk.  One of my favorite features was Dr. Hull’s explanation of (a very elegant mathematical definition of) what kind of transformation constitutes an origami-type folding: it “preserves zig-zagness”.  Also, he led the audience to consider the extension of origami folding to higher-dimensional spaces–I had somehow never pictured folding three dimensional space before, and it was fun.  This session, organized by Hull, Robert Lang, and Erik Demaine (all featured in the excellent origami documentary Between the Folds), continues today in room 4C-3 at 2:15 with a talk by Demaine entitled “Computational Origami is Hard”.

Dr. Erik Demaine

Dr. Erik Demaine