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Selected Highlights of the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meetings

Over 7,200 mathematicians, exhibitors and students came from 36 countries to the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Boston, MA, January 4-7. Mathematicians presented work, met colleagues, mentors and new friends, attended the annual Prize Ceremony, and saw a wide range of exhibitors. Attendees and everyone interested in JMM could follow the meetings on Twitter and the JMM 2012 Blog, written by AMS-AAAS Media Fellow Adriana Salerno. A growing number of students (33% of all registrants) attended JMM, and there were over 85 companies, institutions, organizations and government agencies exhibiting at the meeting. There were over 2,700 talks--another record-breaking number--on the full range of mathematics and on mathematics education.

Below are descriptions with photographs and slideshows of selected events at this year's Joint Mathematics Meetings.

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New for JMM 2012 was JMM TV, a series of videos produced by WebsEdge of interviews and events, shown throughout the Hynes Convention Center, in the headquarter hotels, on the JMM 2012 website, and on YouTube.

The videos (see left) include interviews with AMS President Eric Friedlander, MAA President Paul Zorn, Ellen Kirkman, Eric Demaine, Mary Lou Zeeman, George Andrews, Tina Straley, Edward Frenkel, and coverage of the Undergraduate Poster Session, Joint Prize Session, Graduate School Fair, Mathematics Research Communities, national Who Wants to be a Mathematician game, Mathematical Art Exhibition, and Mathematically Bent Theater.

JMM TV was sponsored by Benedictine University, Drexel University, Ohio State University, Smith College, University of California at Riverside, University of Manitoba, and Wilfred Laurier University, all of whose mathematical sciences programs are featured in the videos as well.

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The AMS Public Awareness Office issued a Joint Mathematics Meetings news release prior to the meetings, managed a Press Room staffed by the AMS and MAA.

Media coverage of JMM 2012 includes "Beauty, Truth, Math, Art," by Sarah Reynolds, Studio 360 (also aired on NPR), 3 February 2012; "A Unique Expression Of Love For Math," by Ari Daniel Shapiro, All Things Considered, NPR, 10 January 2012; "Blue Valley West freshman wins $10k in math contest," by Fred Blocher, Kansas City Star, 9 January 2012; "Neighbourly advice," (about the math and epidemiology session) by Bas den Hond, The Economist, 23 January 2012; "Spot check,"by Bas den Hond, The Economist, 14 January 2012; "Sports And Math: Where Leisure And Learning Meet," by Karen Given, WBUR, 14 January 2012; "A Taste of the 2012 Joint Mathematics Awards and Prizes," by Mike De Haan, Decoded Science, 5 January 2012; and "Gatton Academy Student Presents Research at World’s Largest Math Meeting," SurfKY News Group, 21 January 2012.

The Association for Symbolic Logic, Association for Women in Mathematics, National Association of Mathematics, National Science Foundation, Pi Mu Epsilon, Rocky Mountain Mathematics Consortium, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Young Mathematicians Network and others held sessions, and hosted receptions and social events.

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Prizes and Awards

The slideshow (right) shows the presentations at the Joint Prize Session, and the reception, at which meeting attendees could mingle and meet with the laureates.

The 2012 Prize Booklet contains citations of all the prizes and awards given during the Joint Prize Session, as well as biographies of and responses by the winners.

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Invited Addresses, Sessions, and Other Activities


Read about just some of the invited addresses and other talks and activities, and view the entire program online.

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The Exhibits and JMM Sponsors

Thanks to the Sponsors of JMM 2012: Springer, Taylor & Francis Group LLC - CRC Press, Maplesoft, Math for America, Pearson, MacKichen Software, W.H. Freeman & Co., and Minitab. As always, the exhibition hall was where most of the participants came to view new publications, software, and products, as well as meet colleagues, and see the Mathematical Art Exhibition.

View the slideshow at left to see the Grand Opening of the Exhibits some of the 85 exhibitors.

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Mathematical Art Exhibition

The 2012 Mathematical Art Exhibition Awards were made at the JMM "for aesthetically pleasing works that combine mathematics and art." First Place: Sylvie Donmoyer for "Still Life with Magic Square," Second Place: Thomas Hull, Robert Lang, and Ray Schamp for "Pleated Multi-sliced Cone," and Third Place: Carlo H. Sequin for "Lawson's Minimum-Energy Klein Bottle." Read the news release for more information about the art works and the award.

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Mathematical Sciences Employment Center

The 2012 Employment Center was held at the Hynes Convention Center. Just over 100 employers and 800 applicants participated in the three and one-half days of interviews. These numbers are similar to the previous year's ratio. Most interviews were arranged in advance by the employing institutions through Employment Center software or private arrangement. Computers onsite provided access to the system and to email.

An applicant waiting area offered a quiet place to wait for the next interview to begin. Employers also utilized their own private lounge area with internet and printer access. While many job candidates were hoping that more employers would be present, all in all, those participating found it to be a quiet and centrally located setting to hold interviews.

New this year, Employment Center information was accessed through the accounts. In addition to requesting and scheduling interviews, employers and applicants had access to materials (if requested or made available) uploaded to An EC icon made it easy for both employers and applicants to recognize Employment Center participants. Reactions to combining the Employment Center with were positive, and many noticed that the tension level throughout the area seemed diminished. --- Colleen Rose, Membership and Programs

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Grad School Fair

The fifth annual AMS-MAA Grad School Fair was held on Friday, January 6. Sixty-five graduate programs from all over the U.S. were represented. Their colorful displays and computer-based slideshows attracted the attention of over 300 undergraduates who were present at the meeting. The undergraduates were able to ask questions of the faculty and, occasionally, current grad students who were at the tables. Many students attend college in New England and they were able to find information on programs in other areas of the country. These schools were very happy to receive consideration from such a sizable group of talented undergraduates. --- Diane Boumenot, Membership and Programs

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AMS Exhibits and Events

The AMS hosted a Publications exhibit with hundreds of books on sale, which included a place where the AMS Acquisitions Editors met with current and prospective authors, and another section where individuals could meet the Mathematical Reviews® (MR) editors and see MathSciNet's recent enhancments, including tutorials. This year, the AMS hosted a lively Membership booth, where individuals came to renew their membership, join the Society, pick up a selection of complimentary calendars and posters, and find out about AMS programs for the profession. Lucky individuals were able to snatch up an AMS yo-yo, other popular items, and participate in the exciting Pi Day game. Host Mike Breen tested contestants with problems, trivia, and other unique mathematical puzzles relating to Pi.

The annual AMS Department Chairs Workshop brought forty department chairs and leaders together to discuss such things as balancing faculty workload, the role of a department chair as a steward of the discipline, alternative forms of course delivery and understanding the mathematical background of students in entry-level service courses and how to address their needs while upholding expectations and standards. Workshop leaders were John Meakin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Helen Roberts, Montclair State University; Tim Hodges, University of Cincinnati; and Alex Smith, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. --- Anita Benjamin, Assistant Director, AMS Washington Office

Thanks to the support of an anonymous donor, 100 finishing graduate students received $500 in support of their travel to the meeting in Boston. They enjoyed the AMS Graduate Student Travel Grants Brunch with Executive Director Don McClure and President Eric M. Friedlander also in attendance. Many expressions of gratitude were received from the busy travelers, who packed in research talks, job interviews, and networking with friends during their days in Boston. --- Diane Boumenot, Membership and Programs

There were three Mathematics Research Communities (MRC) sessions (AMS Special Session on New Perspectives in the Multiplicative Number Theory, AMS Special Session on Computational and Applied Topology, and AMS Special Session on the Geometry of Real Projective Structures), with 74 participants from the 2011 summer conference in attendance. Approximately 120 people came to the MRC reception, including participants from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 MRCs.

On Saturday night in the Boston Marriott Copley Place Ballroom, the AMS 25-year member banquet was enjoyed by over 200 attendees. AMS Executive Director Don McClure made a lively presentation of AMS activities in 2011, and photos from recent events provided a backdrop to the talk. The longest-term member present who had not previously won the award was Richard Askey, who joined the AMS in 1955. The photographs here are of the reception prior to the banquet. --- Diane Boumenot, Membership and Programs

Shyam Narayanan

The third national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game for high school students drew a crowd of Joint Mathematics Meetings attendees and local cheering classmates. Shyam Narayanan (photo, left), a freshman at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, won first place and US$10,000. The game was also webcast. See more about the game including photos, videos and media coverage.

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Most of the photographs on these pages were taken by E. David Luria, others by AMS staff Norman Richert, Diane Boumenot, and Annette Emerson. MAA has also posted photographs of JMM 2012 on Flickr.

Save the dates of the 2013 meetings in San Diego, CA, January 9-12 .

See Highlights of the 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings.

The Joint Mathematics Meetings are held for the purpose of advancing mathematical achievement, encouraging research, and providing the communication necessary for progress in the field. These meetings serve to preserve, supplement, and utilize the results of the research of mathematicians worldwide.

--- Annette Emerson, AMS Public Awareness Officer