Every time I come to the Joint Math Meetings, I wish I had the time turner that Hermione uses in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There is too much interesting stuff all happening at the same time! This time in particular was a first for me as far as Joint Math Meetings go: the two things I organized were scheduled at the same time!
First (or second?) I co-organized the AWM panel on Being a Mathematician and an Activist. Luckily, my co-organizer Michelle Manes had already volunteered to be the moderator (and she did an amazing job), so it didn’t matter that I ran in a few minutes late (because my simultaneous special session needed my laptop). I decided to go to the panel (2:15pm to 3:40pm), since I felt that Michelle might need more support. I tried to give the needed support, but I was spectacularly bad at figuring out when people had questions. The panel itself went really well (in my opinion). The panelists all had very insightful things to say, but I was struck by how many of them didn’t consider themselves to be “doing enough” to deserve the label “activist”. Another common thread was the need to fight for equity and justice, but also the sentiment that the goal should be that we no longer have to fight for any of this, and that racism, misogyny, and bigotry in general have no place in our society.
Second (or first?) I co-organized the AMS Special Session on A Showcase in Number Theory at Liberal Arts Colleges (2:15pm to 6:05pm). Again, I was lucky to have a co-organizer, Lola Thompson, who took charge of the session while I was at the panel. Important lesson, when your computer is being used by all the presenters, and you’re not in the room, bad things can happen (like your computer going into sleep mode and no one knowing your password). It was not a disaster because the other presenters had a computer, but still. I missed two of the talks in the session, and arrived late at the next, but I’m glad I was able to see most of them. I’m really proud of this session, because it is a really fantastic group of high-quality researchers at small (and sometimes underestimated) institutions. Lola and I may be bringing this back next year (there were so many more people that we could have invited!), so stay tuned for that!
All in all, a pretty exhausting day, with traveling, double-booked organizing, and a panel that I’m hoping to write more about tomorrow. I was hoping to go to the AWM reception, but I’m barely awake enough to type (while lying in my hotel room bed). Hope you all had a time-turning-worthy day too!