Wednesday: Off to the Races

The math fun frenzy starts off with a short lull, waiting to pick up a packet at the registration desk, lower level in the B area of the San Diego Convention Center.

The JMM can seem like a race—running from meeting to talk to math friend to math friend, trying to get in as much math, inspiration, and hanging out as possible in four days. I always remind myself to chill out and not overschedule, but it’s hard to hang back when I see so many things that I want to do.

Some years, I have spent a truly excessive amount of time poring over the printed program and using unintelligible (even to me) shorthand to write down things that look interesting. I would then have to look up where they were and then get lost and miss the talks I wanted to see. No longer! This year I am having great success using the JMM 2018 app, which I think is better this year than it was even last year. It has a schedule maker which syncs with my Google calendar, and this great “Map It” feature that shows me where in the convention center each talk is.

Here are some of the things that are on my schedule today:

Talithia Williams’ talk, “Mathematics for the Masses”, 9-9:50 AM in room 8, upper level of the San Diego Convention Center

Abstract: In recent months, we’ve witnessed Americans grapple with the significance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through events ranging from the Paris Agreement to the nationwide March for Science, where people marched to defend the role of science in society. In the wake of a renewed excitement for STEM, I’m thrilled to be joining the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) family as one of the hosts of a new NOVA series called NOVA Wonders premiering this spring. NOVA is the most-watched primetime science series on television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly. NOVA Wonders is a six-part series that will journey to the frontiers of science, where researchers are tackling some of the most intriguing questions about life and the cosmos. My goal in hosting the show is to open individuals to the power of mathematics and data to pursue answers to questions in a clear and purposeful way. During this talk, I plan to share with you an early clip from NOVA Wonders and discuss ways that we can take our mathematics to the masses and share techniques that have been successful in my mathematical environment. We all have a responsibility to inspire a new generation in STEM and nurture the dreams of future mathematical leaders.

Gunnar Carlsson’s talk, “Topological Modeling of Complex Data”, 11:10 AM-12 PM in room 6AB, upper level of the San Diego Convention Center

Abstract: One of the fundamental problems faced by science and industry is that of making sense of large and complex data sets. To approach this problem, we need new organizing principles and modeling methodologies. One such approach is through topology, the mathematical study of shape. The shape of the data, suitably defined, is an important component of exploratory data analysis. In this talk, we will discuss the topological approach, with numerous examples, and consider some questions about how it will develop as mathematics.

Association for Women in Mathematics Panel “Using Mathematics in Activism”, organized by Michelle Manes, 2:15– 3:40 PM in room 1, upper level of the San Diego Convention Center.

Abstract: There is a romantic notion that mathematics is somehow so pure that it is separate from the “real world” and untouched by it. However, mathematicians live in the world and are affected by it, and that in turn affects their work. Many mathematicians tackle problems and issues in their communities, in the country, and in the world. Activism can mean many things: engaging with the general public through social media or through traditional media via op ed pieces and letters to the editor; outreach with marginalized populations; advocacy work in professional organizations; and even mathematical research in the context of social and political justice. Our panelists will share their experiences as activist mathematicians and they will help lead a conversation about what we can each do to effect change around issues we care about. This session is open to all JMM attendees. Panelists include Federico Ardila, San Francisco State University, Piper Harron, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Lily Khadjavi, Loyola Marymount University, Beth Malmskog, Colorado College, Karen Saxe, American Mathematical Society and other panelists to be announced.

MAA-JCW-NAM-AWM Panel, “Implicit Bias and Its Effects in Mathematics” organized by Semra Kilic-Bahi, Colby-Sawyer College, Maura Mast, Fordham College at Rose Hill, Naomi Cameron, Lewis & Clark College, Andrew Cahoon, Colby-Sawyer College and Charles Doering, 4:15–5:35 PM in room 2 upper level of the San Diego Convention Center.

Abstract: Implicit bias occurs when someone explicitly rejects stereotypes and prejudices, but unconsciously holds negative (mostly) associations. People are not hiding their prejudices, but rather, they just do not know they have these unconscious feelings or thoughts that affect their decision-making and behavior. Social scientists are identifying implicit biases as one of the most pervasive barriers to equal opportunities for minorities and women in today’s society. This panel discussion addresses how implicit bias might manifest and affect our classrooms, departments, and campuses in terms of academic and scholarly opportunities and evaluations. Panelists are Ron Buckmire, National Science Foundation, Jenna P. Carpenter, Campbell University, Lynn Garrioch, Colby-Sawyer College, Joanna Kania-Bartoszynska, National Science Foundation and Francis Edward Su, Harvey Mudd College.

Well, I’m off to the first talk!  Hope everyone has a great day at the meeting—stop and let me know how it is going if you see me around.

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AMS Office of Government Relations Activities at JMM

The author of this piece is Karen Saxe, Director of the AMS Office of Government Relations. See the Office website and her blog for more information about our work in Washington, D.C.

 It’s 2018! And no better way to start a new year than by participating in the Joint Mathematics Meetings! There are great invited talks; research talks; panels on teaching, activism, and leadership in our community; and fun social events. I’m excited to see all four of the Joint Invited Addresses, to be given by Gunnar Carlsson, Moon Duchin, André Neves, and Jill Pipher. Also, looking forward to a video by JPBM Communications Award winner Vi Hart talk about her “doodles”, which I have long-admired. She will entertain and challenge us on Saturday as part of Mathemati-Con. And, I also always look forward to the Current Events Bulletin Session on Friday afternoon.

My office, the Office of Government Relations of the AMS, sponsors and cosponsors events throughout the week. The primary goal of this post is to tell you about them. The first two workshops — held during the two days in advance of JMM — require registration; please contact us at 401-455-4116 or for further information.

We kick off Monday evening with a NSF-EHR Grant-Writing Workshop, run by Ron Buckmire and Lee Zia. They will tell us about programs in the Education and Human Resources Directorate, and how to prepare competitive proposals. This session is free.

2017 Chairs Workshop, in Atlanta

Tuesday all day we are busy at our annual Department Chairs Workshop. This full-day event provides opportunities for new and not-so-new department chairs to connect with each other and learn from more experienced department leaders about what makes the duties of a chair different from those of other engaged faculty members. This year we will begin by looking inward and “grow” during the day. Our first session is on improving our students’ experiences; the second on building partnerships within an institution (with, e.g., alumni and admissions offices and other academic departments); the third on building external partnerships (with, e.g., industry and other academic institutions in a geographic area); and we will end the day putting all the other three sessions in context by hearing about the responsibilities, duties and expectations that deans, provosts and other chief academic officers have for their chairs. There is a separate fee for this workshop.

Finally, JMM begins on Wednesday! The Office of Government Relations is running four panels this year.

Thursday’s AMS Committee on Education Panel Discussion will discuss how to prepare our undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. students for a broad range of careers.  In particular, the panel will focus on career options for mathematics students, how to teach students to use mathematics to solve problems originating in non-academic settings, what are the key mathematics courses that can help students succeed in a broad range of jobs, what should be the priorities for workforce development in the mathematical sciences, and how to help students get jobs. This takes place 1:00-2:30 pm in room 11B of the San Diego Convention Center.

After that, make your way to room 8 for the 2:35-3:55 pm SIAM-MAA-AMS Joint Panel that will continue this conversation. Panelists from industry and government will share (a) what they wish they had known and done as graduate students/postdocs, (b) what you can do at your career stage if you are interested in making connections with business, industry or government, and (c) what suggestions they have for math doctoral programs to increase preparedness of their students for work in business, industry, and government (BIG).

The AMS Committee on Science Policy Panel takes place on Friday, 2:30-4:00 pm in room 11B. Mathematician and U.S. Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA 9) will be joined by other mathematicians who work at the NSF and at the Department of Defense to give insiders’ views of the federal funding landscape. The panel will comment on the value of, and opportunities for, engaging in national and local advocacy to support sustained funding for research.

Current AMS Congressional Fellow Margaret Callahan

If you are interested in working in Washington, D.C. for a year in the U.S. Congress or at one of the agencies, I encourage you to join us at the AMS Congressional Fellowship Session. This is an opportunity to hear about the fellowship program, and to meet our current fellow and former fellows and ask questions about the year-long fellowship. This fellowship is open to anyone with a Ph.D. in mathematics, and can be a positive experience at any stage of your career. This session takes place 4:30-6:00 pm on Friday, again in room 11B.









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Welcome to #JMM2018!

Soon over 6,000 mathematicians and students in the mathematical sciences are gathering in San Diego for the 2018 Joint Mathematics Meetings (#JMM2018)—the largest annual gathering of mathematicians in the world—starting January 10. Mathematicians will share research findings, discuss mathematics education, exhibit artworks, view new products and services, and connect with old and new colleagues.

Whether you’re participating or wanting to know what’s going on from afar, we invite you to follow this blog for reports and impressions of sessions, panels, and social events by Adriana Salerno, Kelsey Houston-Edwards, Beth Malmskog, Karen Saxe and Ben Thompson–and share your own experiences and feedback in the comments.

If you’d like a preview of some of the #JMM2018 program see the Virtual Press Room.

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