Math on the Web Pavilion and Exhibits Draw Crowds
Exhibitors at the 2003 Joint Mathematics Meetings—over 125 booths, plus publishers who shared space in the Joint Books Display—included commercial and society publishers, software companies, artists, local vendors, and representatives from societies and organizations that provide programs and services for the profession. The exhibits provided the opportunity for mathematicians to peruse and compare all kinds of publications and products for professional and recreational use, and to purchase many of them at a special meeting-only discount.
For the first time in the Joint Mathematics Meetings exhibits, the AMS and MAA co-sponsored a Math on the Web Pavilion, staffed by representatives from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). (W3C is a non-profit organization that "develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential.") Representatives from the Math working group of the consortium (from companies and professional societies) presented examples of MathML, Mathematica, OpenMath, Maple, Scientific WorkPlace and other technologies that enable easier authoring, rendering, content management, collaboration, searching, archiving and conversion for web-based mathematical communication. The presentations, which were given several times each day and which generated consistent attendance and a lot of interest, urged mathematicians, software developers and corporate users to learn more about MathML and other technologies on the W3C Math website.
Artist and past JPBM Communications Award winner Helamon Ferguson brought many of his sculptures to display, generating much interest from both mathematicians and the media.
Year after year the exhibitors—whether long-standing or first-time participants—contribute greatly to the success of the Joint Mathematics Meetings. And the exhibit area this year was—as always—a hub of activity, a place where meeting participants ran into current and old colleagues, talked with their current and prospective publishers, and socialized between sessions. Penny Pina (Supervisor, Mathematics Meetings Service Bureau at the AMS) coordinated the exhibits component of the annual meetings, as she has for 17 years.
--- Annette Emerson, AMS Public Awareness Officer