Other AMS Sessions

Counting from Infinity: Yitang Zhang and the Twin Primes Conjecture, Saturday, 6:20 p.m.–7:40 p.m. In April 2013, a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire submitted a paper to the Annals of Mathematics. Within weeks word spread—a little-known mathematician, with no permanent job, working in complete isolation had made an important breakthrough towards solving the Twin Primes Conjecture. Yitang Zhang’s techniques for bounding the gaps between primes soon led to rapid progress by the Polymath Group, and a further innovation by James Maynard. The film is a study of Yitang Zhang’s rise from obscurity and a disadvantaged youth to mathematical celebrity. The story of Zhang’s quiet perseverance amidst adversity, and his preference for thinking and working in solitude, is interwoven with a history of the Twin Primes Conjecture as told by several mathematicians, many of whom have wrestled with this enormously challenging problem in Number Theory—Daniel Goldston, Kannan Soundararajan, Andrew Granville, Peter Sarnak, Enrico Bombieri, James Maynard, Nicholas Katz, David Eisenbud, Ken Ribet, and Terry Tao. This film was directed by George Csicsery, and produced by MSRI. Cosponsored by the AMS and MAA.

Conversation on Nonacademic Employment, moderated by C. Allen Butler, Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Inc.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–noon. This session will concentrate on how to find non-academic positions, types of jobs, the interview process, work environments, and advancement opportunities.  The discussion will be led by a panel of mathematical scientists working in government and industry.

Committee on Education Panel Discussion on “Active Learning Strategies for Mathematics”, Sunday, 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m., organized by David Bressoud, Macalester College; Ruth Charney, Brandeis University; Jesus Antonio DeLoera, University of California, Davis; and Douglas Mupasiri, University of Northern Iowa. recognizes the importance of active learning strategies and is working with organizations such as Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math) to clarify what this means for our community and to promote best practices in teaching the mathematical sciences.  This panel will highlight some of the active learning strategies for which we have evidence of effectiveness. Panelists are: Stephen DeBacker, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Dennis DeTurck, University of Pennsylvania; Rachel Levy, Harvey Mudd College; and Michael Starbird, University of Texas-Austin. Sponsored by the AMS Committee on Education.

Concept Inventories beyond Differential Calculus: An Invitation, Sunday, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., organized by Stephen DeBacker, University of Michigan, and Gavin LaRose, University of Michigan.  We are interested in developing tools to assess student learning in mathematics that are environment-independent; that is, tools that can be used to assess learning outcomes independent of teaching style, school, future courses of the students, instructor, etc.  As far as we know, the only such tool available to the math community is the Calculus Concept Inventory (CCI), which focuses on differential calculus.  (For more information, see, for example, Esptein, Jerome, The Calculus Concept Inventory—Measurement of the Effect of Teaching Methodology in Mathematics, Notices of the AMS, 2013, vol. 60, 10 (September 2013) 1018-1026.)

We would like the community to develop environment independent tools that will address other mathematical subjects including: precalculus, integral calculus, sequences and series, multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra.  We invite others who might be interested in such tools to join us for an informal discussion. Sponsored by the Committee on Education.

The Mathematics of Being Human, Sunday, 6:00 p.m.–7:20 p.m. In the not-too-distant future, English professor Naomi Kessler and mathematics professor Mike Pearson are forced to co-teach a course by a university bent on promoting interdisciplinarity at any cost. Battle lines are drawn as they jockey not only over the syllabus but also the different intellectual cultures and modes of inquiry favored by the humanities vs. mathematics. To win over the class, they must bridge their own preconceptions and prejudices and explore common ground. Only through the effort of two of their students do they catch a glimpse of true synthesis. Come see this live performance, co-written by Michele Osherow, professor of English and Director of Judaic Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Manil Suri, professor of mathematics, University of Maryland Baltimore County. There will be ample time after the performance for discussion and questions. Cosponsored by AMS and MAA.

Grad School Fair, Monday, 8:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m. 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. Cosponsored by the the AMS and MAA.

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician—National Contest, organized by Michael A. Breen, AMS, and William T. Butterworth, DePaul University; Monday, 9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. This event features a special performance by Tim Chartier, Davidson College. 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 a.m. and finals at 10:30 a.m. You are invited to come and match wits with the contestants.

Current Events Bulletin, organized by David Eisenbud, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute; Monday, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. 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.

Committee on Science Policy Panel Discussion on "The Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream", moderated by Eric Friedlander, University of Southern California; Monday, 2:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently produced a report Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.  From the report, “The American research enterprise is at a critical inflection point.  The decisions that policymakers and leaders in science, engineering, and technology make over the next few years will determine the trajectory of American innovation for many years to come.” Panelists are: Mark Green, University of California-Los Angeles; Neal Lane, Rice University; and David Vogan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.                         

AMS Special Presentation on Congressional Fellowships Session, organized by Samuel M. Rankin III, AMS; Monday, 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. 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 about this program and speak with the current AMS Congressional Fellow, Boris Granovskiy, AMS Congressional Fellow 2014-15. Application deadline for the 2015–16 AMS Congressional Fellowship is February 15, 2015.