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Mathematics Events at the 2014 AAAS Meeting

The 2014 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) took place in Chicago February 13-17. About 10,000 people registered but only about 8,000 made it to the meeting because of the bad weather in many parts of the country. Below are brief descriptions of some of the events as well as a slideshow of pictures from the meeting.

AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science

Steven Strogatz

Steven Strogatz, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, received the 2014 AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science for "his exceptional commitment to and passion for conveying the beauty and importance of mathematics to the general public." In his remarks, Strogatz thanked his high school calculus and physics teachers.


Symposium: The Importance of Recreational Mathematics in Solving Practical Problems

Francis Edward Su

This symposium was organized by Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman of James Madison University, but neither could attend because of the weather. Francis Edward Su (left), Harvey Mudd College, introduced the topic and later gave a talk "From Cake- Cutting to Mathematical Economics," in which he showed how a variety of problems could be solved with Sperner's Lemma. Gary McGuire, University College Dublin, spoked about his computer-aided proof that showed that a Sudoku puzzle must have at least 17 filled-in cells in order to have a unique solution.

Symposium: Elections Through the Lens of Mathematics

Steven Brams

Steven J. Brams (left), New York University, filled in for a speaker who couldn't attend and talked about how states that are non-competitive in presidential elections are still important to candidates, primarily because a candidate needs to win fewer competitive states to win the election. Later Samuel Merrill III, Wilkes University, spoke about his research into liberal/conservative cycles in politics. He has found that in the U.S. it takes about 30 years for political opinions to return to where they started.

AMS Exhibit

AMS booth

AMS Public Awareness Officer Annette Emerson and Assistant Director of the AMS Washington Office Anita Benjamin staffed the exhibit, which featured the 2014 Calendar of Mathematical Imagery and Mathematical Moments--a series of over 100 posters that promote appreciation of the role mathematics plays in science, nature, technology and human culture. Among the other items offered were the Powered by Math and 2014 Mathematics Awareness Month "Mathematics, Magic & Mystery" posters; and selected AMS books. Visitors to the exhibit included mathematicians, scientists from many disciplines, press, teachers, and Family Days participants.

Here's a slideshow of photos of the symposia, a plenary address by Alan Alda, the awards ceremony, exhibits, and Chicago.

Created with flickr slideshow.

The 2015 AAAS annual meeting will be in San Jose (meeting organizers guarantee fewer ice floes), February 12-16. The AAAS website has more information.

You can also read about mathematics at previous AAAS meetings: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

Text and photos by AMS Public Awareness Officers Mike Breen and Annette Emerson.