Other AMS Sessions

AMS Committee on the Profession Panel Discussion, Promoting Mathematics to Policy Makers and the Public, Wednesday, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm. Mathematicians are often dismayed at the difficulties encountered in trying to convince nonexperts of the value of mathematics.

How can we, as individuals and as a profession, explain to non-mathematicians what it is that we do? Is it possible to shape the perception of mathematics and convince others that math is important enough to be worthy of support? How can such messages be made effectively and to as wide and diverse an audience as possible? A panel of mathematicians who have dealt with these and related issues share their insights. Organizers are Allan Greenleaf, University of Rochester; Hal Sadofsky, University of Oregon; and Suzanne L. Weekes, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Panelists are: Sam Rankin, AMS; Jordan Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin; Kristin Lauter, Microsoft Research; and William Massey, Princeton University.

Navajo Math Circles produced by MSRI, Wednesday, 6:30 pm–7:50 pm. Hundreds of Navajo children in recent years have found themselves at the center of a lively collaboration with mathematicians from around the world. The children stay late after school and assemble over the summer to study mathematics, using a model called math circles, which originated in Eastern Europe and which has proliferated across the United States. This notion of student-centered learning puts children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction, with potentially long-lasting results.

Navajo Math Circles is a one-hour film that is documenting the meeting of two worlds: that of some of the country’s most accomplished mathematicians and math educators, with the children and teachers in the underserved, largely rural Navajo educational system. An 8-minute trailer gives a taste of the film.

The project is supported by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, California with a generous grant from the Simons Foundation, and by Vision Maker Media (VMM), Lincoln, Nebraska, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Following this premiere screening 2016 Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM), Vision Maker Media will  work with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to schedule a national broadcast. 

This film was directed by George Csicsery and produced by MSRI. Co-sponsored by the AMS and MAA.

AMS-MAA-SIAM Panel Discussion: Computing Across the Curriculum: Opportunities and Challenges, organized by Rachel Levy, Harvey Mudd College; and Lee Zia, National Science Foundation; Thursday, 8:30 am–10:00 am. As data science, industrial mathematics, and mathematical modeling have gained attention as popular tools in the workforce, a new focus on computation has entered mathematical sciences courses. In this panel, faculty will share their experiences incorporating computing across the mathematics curriculum. Computing will be discussed as a major focus of a course or as new modules or assignments integrated into existing courses. Challenges and opportunities associated with these efforts will also be presented, along with potential NSF funding avenues. This panel is co-sponsored by the AMS, MAA, and SIAM.

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician—National Contest and Public Talk, organized by Michael A. Breen, AMS, and William T. Butterworth, DePaul University; Thursday, 9:30 am–11:50 am.  See ten of the nation’s best high school students compete for a US\$5,000 first prize for themselves and US$5,000 for their school’s math department. Semifinals are at 9:30 am and finals at 10:30 am; followed by a public talk by Simon Singh, winner of the 2016 JPBM Communications Award for Expository and Popular Books, Fermat's Last Theorem versus The Simpsons. You are invited to come and match wits with the contestants and hear what Homer Simpson has to say about Fermat's Last Theorem.

AMS & AWM Committees on Education Panel Discussion, Work in Mathematics Education in Departments of Mathematical Sciences, organized by Jacqueline Dewar, and Pao-sheng Hsu, AWM Education Committee; Thursday, 10:30 am–12:00 pm. Many in the mathematics community in the US are now involved in mathematics education in various capacities. This panel is designed to illustrate the breadth and range of these activities. It will highlight examples of contributions to mathematics education by members in the mathematical sciences, and include the perspectives of mathematicians and mathematics educators who contribute in areas such as: teacher education (pre- and in-service); instructional materials development in K–16 mathematics; scholarship of teaching and learning; mathematics education research. Panelists will discuss their work and may reflect on how their work is received in their departments. The moderator for this panel will be Elizabeth Burroughs, Montana State University; panelists are: Curtis Bennett, Loyola Marymount University; Brigitte Lahme, Sonoma State University; Kristin Umland, University of New Mexico; and Megan Wawro, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

AMS Committee on Education Panel Discussion, What is a Mathematics PhD? Thursday, 1:00 pm–2:30 pm. The panel will discuss a variety of issues related to the training and mentoring of mathematics PhDs, including best practices for mentoring; expectations and responsibilities for mentors; TA preparation and graduate teaching responsibilities; special challenges for women; minorities and international students; what is the optimal size of a graduate program?; process of administration of oral, defense and exit exams and opportunities for professional development. Sponsored by the AMS Committee on Education.

Grad School Fair, Friday, 8:30 am–10:30 am. Here is the opportunity for undergrads to meet representatives from mathematical sciences graduate programs from universities all over the country. January is a great time for juniors to learn more, and college seniors may still be able to refine their search. This is your chance for one-stop shopping in the graduate school market. At last year’s meeting about 300 students met with representatives from 50 graduate programs. If your school has a graduate program and you are interested in participating, a table will be provided for your posters and printed materials for US\$75 (registration for this event must be made by a person already registered for the JMM), and you are welcome to personally speak to interested students. Complimentary coffee will be served. Co-sponsored by the the AMS and MAA.

Current Events Bulletin, organized by David Eisenbud, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute; Friday, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm. Speakers in this session follow the model of the Bourbaki Seminars in that mathematicians with strong expository skills speak on work not their own. Written versions of the talks will be distributed at the meeting and will also be available online at www.ams.org/ams/current-events-bulletin.html after the conclusion of the meeting. The speakers will be: 1:00 pm, Carina Curto, Pennsylvania State University, What can topology tell us about the neural code?; 2:00 pm, Yuval Peres, Microsoft Research and University of California, Berkeley, Laplacian growth, sandpiles and scaling limits; 3:00 pm, Timothy Gowers, Cambridge University, Probabilistic Combinatorics and the recent work of Peter Keevash; and 4:00 pm, Amie Wilkinson, University of Chicago, What are Lyapunov exponents, and why are they interesting?

Committee on Science Policy Panel Discussion, Mathematical Careers Beyond Academia, Friday, 2:30 pm–4:00 pm.  The moderator for this panel will be Kristin Lauter, Microsoft Research. Panelists will be Sharon Arroyo, Boeing; Lisa Goldberg, Aperio and  University of California-Berkeley; Linda Ness, QEDelta LLC; David Saltman, Center for Communications Research; Kieran Snyder, Textio; and William Stein, SageMath, Inc. and University of Washington. The panel will focus on preparation for non-academic employment: What skills should graduate students acquire if they expect to be working in business, industry or government? What background makes an applicant stand out from the pack? The panelists and moderator will share their perspectives and discuss questions as they arise.

Congressional Fellowship Session, organized by Samuel M. Rankin III, AMS; Friday, 4:30 pm–6:30 pm. This fellowship provides a public policy learning experience, demonstrates the value of science-government interaction and brings a technical background and external perspective to the decision-making process in Congress. Learn more about this program and speak with current and former AMS Fellows. Application deadline for the 2016–17 AMS Congressional Fellowship is February 15, 2016.