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Selected Highlights of the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings

Over 6,600 mathematicians, exhibitors and students came to the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in San Diego, CA, January 9-12. 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 JMM Twitter (@JointMath) and the JMM 2013 Blog, written by Adriana Salerno (Bates College) and Tyler Clark (Editor-in-Chief, AMS Grad Student Blog). Students comprised 28% of registrants, and there were 75 companies, institutions, organizations and government agencies exhibiting at the meeting. There were nearly 3,000 talks--another record-breaking number--on a wide range of mathematics and on mathematics education. The Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 initiative was launched in the U.S. at JMM, with a public lecture, Mathematics and the Melting Polar Ice Caps, by Kenneth M. Golden, University of Utah.

"There were so many mathematicians! It was great to see a community that I felt a part of."

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.

"I like the networking the most. I love running into friends and catching up both mathematically and socially."

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

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Prizes and Awards

The slideshow above shows the presentations at the Joint Prize Session, and the reception, at which meeting attendees could mingle and meet with the laureates. The 2013 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.

"I like the chance to greet old friends and learn new things. It's great to see what is going on in other fields of mathematics and to see others' innovations in teaching."

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The Exhibits and JMM Sponsors

Thanks to the Sponsors of JMM 2013: American Mathematical Society, Elsevier, Hawkes Learning Systems, Maplesoft, Pearson, Springer, Taylor & Francis Group, and W.H. Freeman. 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.

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Mathematical Art Exhibition

Works by over 80 artists were on display in the exhibit hall. The juried Mathematical Art Exhibition included digital works, sculpture, textiles, photographs, origami, beaded works, crochet, and even a board game. As always, the Mathematical Art Exhibition was a popular highlight. The 2013 Mathematical Art Exhibition Awards were made at the JMM "for aesthetically pleasing works that combine mathematics and art." "Bended Circle Limit III," by Vladimir Bulatov was awarded Best photograph, painting, or print; "Inlaid Wooden Boxes of Makoto Nakamura's Tessellations," by Kevin Lee, Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN, was awarded Best textile, sculpture, or other medium; and "Tessellation Evolution," by Susan Goldstine, St. Mary's College of Maryland, received Honorable Mention. Read the news release for more information about the art works and the award.

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Mathematical Sciences Employment Center

Employment Center Employment Center

The 2013 Employment Center was held at the San Diego Convention Center. Communications now occur through accounts, and most interview invitations were issued by employers prior to arriving in San Diego. The interviews occurred over three and one half days and included about 100 employers an 800 applicants. The numbers are similar to last year's numbers. A new Employment Center layout provided additional privacy during interviews and the applicant waiting area, with a more relaxed and open feel, offered a quiet place to wait and check accounts until the scheduled interview time. 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. Reactions this new layout were positive, and many noticed that the tension level throughout the area seemed diminished. A video was posted the day before the Employment Center opened to orient participants. (Photos by Sandy Huffaker.) --- Colleen Rose, Membership and Programs

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Grad School Fair

The sixth annual AMS-MAA Grad School Fair was held on Friday, January 11. Sixty-three 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. This was a well-attended event and many students 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 launched celebrations for the AMS 125th anniversary at JMM, with an AMS Gala, a special "125 Tetrahedra in 25 Projected 5-cells" poster, special sales, giveaways and cake in the AMS exhibit area, sponsorship of a WiFi Hotspot, and a human knot "flash mob".

The AMS exhibit booth was redesigned, drawing on inspiration from the AMS logo. The AMS Membership booth offered space for a representative of the Math in Moscow scholarship program to discuss the experience with potential attendees, and their advisors. Also, the editor of the AMS Grad Student Blog, Tyler Clark, was available during certain hours to discuss the blog with students. AMS members were treated to a free pin in honor of the AMS's 125th Anniversary--one featuring a lovely fractal design and the other the AMS 125th anniversary logo. Another highlight was a festive anniversary cake served on Thursday. President Eric Friedlander attended and cut the cake.

The AMS Publications exhibit featured over 300 new, recent, and bestselling books for attendees to browse and purchase. An iPad station allowed customers to view additional books, as well as access AMS journals, eBooks, and MathSciNet. For additional information about MathSciNet attendees could chat with one of the Mathematical Reviews editors. The AMS web editor was available to talk to attendees about recent and future enhancements to Potential authors could meet with AMS acquisitions editors, and a representative from MathJax was available to talk about all things MathJax--from blogs to apps to publishing workflows. As always, representatives from the Mathematics Genealogy Project were available to trace your "academic heritage." Customers also enjoyed the speical AMS 125th anniversary t-shirts and canvas briefcases, as well as a discount on all AMS titles.

The first inaugural class of Fellows of the AMS enjoyed a dessert reception on Friday evening, January 11 at the Omni San Diego Hotel. President Eric Friedlander spoke briefly and led a champagne toast for the group of nearly 500 Fellows and guests. The Fellows renewed old acquaintances and thoroughly enjoyed their evening. The AMS also hosted receptions for AMS authors and MR reviewers.

On Saturday night the AMS Gala was enjoyed by close to 300 attendees. The Gala featured gourmet food station, live music, festive decorations, and a raffle. Retiring AMS President Eric Friedlander, retiring AMS Secretary Robert Daverman, and incoming AMS Secretary Carla Savage gave celebratory remarks to commemorate the AMS 125th Anniversary. Ronald Stern, chair of the Board of Trustees of the AMS, thanked Friedlander as he concludes his term (see video), and Daverman for his 14 years of service (see video). AMS Executive Director Donald McClure introduced AMS founder "Thomas Fiske" (AMS Public Awareness Officer Mike Breen), who acknowledged the longest-term member present who had not previously won the award -- Charles W. Curtis, who joined the AMS in 1949. Curtis is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, where he worked at the Institute of Theoretical Science. --- Annette Emerson, AMS Public Awareness Officer

A flash mob in celebration of the AMS 125th anniversary was organized with the help of Diana Davis, Brown University, and Tyler Clark, University of Central Florida, both of whom also serve as editors of the AMs Graduate Student Blog. Diana came up with the idea to form flash "human knots." According to her plan, small groups came together at noon on Friday outside of the main exhibit hall at JMM, and took each other's hands to form human knots. As more people joined, a large knot mob formed. Participants stepped under and over arms trying to untangle as onlookers stopped to watch. The largest knot group squeezed hands to see if they had formed one big knot, or several linked knots. It turned out to be one big knot. The "flash knot" video will be on YouTube soon. --- Beth Ayer, AMS Web Editor

The AMS held its annual Department Chairs Workshop on January 8th in San Diego, CA. With 45 department chairs and leaders in attendance, the 2013 workshop focused on issues including; how to prepare the next generation of college mathematics teachers; remedial mathematics courses for undergraduates; preparing a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competent workforce; and the teaching of college level mathematics courses. Workshop leaders included Tim Hodges, University of Cincinnati; Helen M. Roberts, Montclair State University; Alex Smith, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; and Michel Smith, Auburn University. The presentations are posted online.--- Anita Benjamin, Assistant Director, AMS Washington Office

AMS Executive Director Donald McClure welcomed almost 100 grad student travel grant recipients to a brunch on Friday, January 11. Grad students were able to meet their peers and enjoy a meal while completing the details of their grant arrangements. President Eric Friedlander also stopped by to meet the students. Thanks to the support of an anonymous donor, the graduate students received $500 in support of their travel to the meeting in San Diego. --- Diane Boumenot, Membership and Programs

Mathematics Research Communities (MRC) AMS Special Sessions followed the week-long conferences for early-career mathematicians that were held last summer at Snowbird Resort in Utah: Arithmetic Statistics, Discrete and Computational Geometry, Arithmetic Statistics, Geometric Complexity Theory, and Harmonic Analysis, Partial Differential Equations, and Geometric Measure Theory.

The AMS also hosted focus groups for undergraduate and graduate program directors, and for graduate students regarding their use of the AMS website; in all cases the participants had a chance to share their experiences, challenges and ideas.


The fourth national Who Wants to Be a Mathematician game for high school students drew a crowd of Joint Mathematics Meetings attendees and local cheering classmates. Calvin Deng, a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and a 2012 IMO gold medalist, won first place and US$10,000. The game was also webcast. See more about the game including photos, videos and media coverage.


The AMS Public Awareness Office issued a Joint Mathematics Meetings news release prior to the meetings, and managed the Press Room staffed by the AMS and MAA. See "A mathematician puts Fermat's Last Theorem on an axiomatic diet," (Julie Rehmeyer, Science News).

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Most of the photographs on these pages were taken by Sandy Huffaker, others by AMS staff. Also see AMS photos on Instagram, MAA photos on Instagram, and MAA on Storify.

Save the dates of the 2014 meetings in Baltimore, MD, January 15-18.

See Highlights of the 2012 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