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Selected Highlights of the 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings

JMM 2011 logo

Over 6,000 mathematicians, exhibitors and students came to the 2011 Joint Mathematics Meetings of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in New Orleans, LA, January 6-9. Mathematicians of all ages presented work, met colleagues, mentors and new friends, attended the annual Prize Ceremony, and saw a wide range of exhibitors.

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 hosted receptions and social events. The Mathematical Art Exhibition and the Graduate School Fair were well-attended. For the seventh year childcare services were available for families of registered JMM participants.

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, and hosted the JMM 2011 Blog, written by AMS-AAAS Media Fellow Adriana Salerno. The meetings drew freelance journalists, and the national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game was webcast.

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

January 2011 Prizes and Awards

The following AMS prizes and awards were given: AMS Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement to John W. Milnor, Stony Brook University; AMS Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition to Henryk Iwaniec, Rutgers University; AMS Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research to Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University; AMS Bôcher Prize to Assaf Naor, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University; AMS Bôcher Prize to Gunther Uhlmann, University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington; AMS Cole Prize in Number Theory to Chandrashekhar Khare, University of California, Los Angeles and Jean Pierre Wintenberger, University of Strasbourg; AMS Conant Prize to David Vogan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; AMS Doob Prize to Peter Kronheimer, Harvard University and Tomasz Mrowka, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; AMS Eisenbud Prize to Herbert Spohn, Technical University of Munich; AMS Satter Prize to Amie Wilkinson, Northwestern University; AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Prize to Maria Monks, University of Cambridge; JPBM Communications Award to Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton, creators of the television series NUMB3RS.

See the 2011 Prize Booklet for full citations and responses, and for information on prizes and awards given by the MAA and AWM. See photographs of the recipients and the reception.

Invited Addresses, Sessions, and Other Activities


Researchers presented over 2,000 papers from all specialties of mathematics. In addition to the invited addresses, there were presentations and panels in areas of theoretical research, recent applications of math, significant issues such as the BP Oil spill, health and medicine, the economy, encouraging participation of underrepresented groups, and education. Read about some of the invited addresses and other talks, and view the entire program online.

AMS Exhibits and Events

The AMS hosted a Publications exhibit with hundreds of books on sale, and a 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. The Publications exhibit also 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 MathJax and links to dissertations.

The AMS also hosted a Workshop for Department Chairs, led by Timothy Hodges, University of Cincinnati; John Meakin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Helen Roberts, Montclair State University; and Stephen Robinson, Wake Forest University; a gathering of Mathematics Research Communities participants, a reception for AMS book authors, an MR reception, and a brunch for recipients of JMM travel grants.

The AMS Member Banquet was held in the Mardi Gras Ballroom at the New Orleans Marriott. AMS Executive Director Don McClure spoke about the development of new AMS programs to serve young mathematicians. There were many members present with over 25 years of membership, as well as younger members and guests, and a fine dinner and slideshow were enjoyed by all. The members in attendance with the longest history of AMS membership (aside from Peter Lax, who had previously won the award) were Abdulalim Shabazz and Gerald Heuer, both of whom joined the society in 1955.

Who Wants to Be a Mathematician national game

cheering students

The second national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game for high school students drew a crowd of Joint Mathematics Meetings attendees and local cheering classmates. The game was webcast and seen by contestant schools in.... Read more about the game including photos, videos and media coverage.

Mathematical Art Exhibition

Margaret Kepner, independent artist, received First Place Award for her work, "Magic Square 25 Study." Carlo H. Séquin (University of California, Berkeley) received Second Place Award for "Torus Knot (5,3)," and Anne Burns (Long Island University, Brookville, NY) receieved Third Place Award for "Circles on Orthogonal Circles." The Mathematical Art Exhibition Prize "for aesthetically pleasing works that combine mathematics and art" was established in 2008 through an endowment provided to the American Mathematical Society by an anonymous donor who wishes to acknowledge those whose works demonstrate the beauty and elegance of mathematics expressed in a visual art form. The 2011 Mathematics Art Exhibition, included juried works in various media by 58 artists. Read the news release for more information about the art works and the award.

Grad School Fair

The fourth annual AMS-MAA Grad School Fair was held on Saturday, January 8. Fifty 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. Two hours went by quickly and some conversations even continued beyond the allotted time. Many schools return year after year because they find that this event puts them in touch with some very talented undergraduates.

Mathematical Sciences Employment Center

The 2011 Employment Center was held at the New Orleans Marriott. Over 100 employers and almost 800 applicants participated in the three and one-half days of interviews. These numbers are slightly more favorable for applicants that 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.

After arriving in the Employment Center area, applicants could check their accounts on the system and, as their interview times approached, sit in the new applicant waiting area. Employers had access to their own lounge equipped with computers, printers and coffee, which helped to ease the noise level at the interview tables. Reactions to the first year of the electronic system were positive, and many noticed that the tension level throughout the area seemed diminished. The only major problem at the Employment Center was the decline in available jobs, a trend which is also apparent this year in other job services. The employers that did attend enjoyed the chance to speak with many fine applicants. --- Diane Boumenot, Manager, Membership and Programs

The Exhibits and JMM Sponsors

Thanks to the Sponsors of JMM 2011: Springer, Taylor & Francis Group LLC - CRC Press, Maplesoft, Math for America, Pearson, MacKichen Software, W.H. Freeman & Co., Minitab, and Elsevier.

View the slideshow at left to see the Grand Opening of the Exhibits (there were 77 exhibitors this year) and the Sponsors' exhibits.

Most of the photographs on these pages were taken by E. David Luria, others by AMS staff Norman Richert, Diane Boumenot, and Annette Emerson.

Save the dates of the 2012 meetings in Boston, MA, January 4-7 .

See Highlights of the 2010 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