Scientific Committee Meeting Minutes for September 2015

Minutes of the meeting of 4 September 2015 Burnside Room, De Morgan House, 57-58 Russell Square

  1. Welcome, confirmation of membership

    David Jordan (Sheffield) until 31 May 2017.
    LMS representatives:
    Sarah Rees (Newcastle) until 31 May 2016, John Hunton (Durham) until 31 May 2017, Phil Rippon (Open) until 31 May 2017. EdMS representatives:
    Stuart White (Glasgow) until 31 May 2016,
    Sophie Huczynska (St Andrews) until 31 May 2017.
    Cambridge (2015):
    Rachel Camina or Tom Fisher (Rachel Camina present).
    Bristol (2016):
    Tim Dokchitser, Lynne Walling.
    Durham (2017):
    Andrew Lobb, Alexander Stasinski.
    St Andrews (2018):
    Colva Roney-Dougal, Mike Todd.
    Representative of the 2015 BMC:
    Brita Nucinkis (Royal Holloway) until 30 September 2015.
    Ex officio:
    Elizabeth Fisher present in lieu of Fiona Nixon (Executive Secretary of the LMS).

  2. Apologies for absence

    Tim Dokchitser, Sophie Huczynska, Fiona Nixon, Colva Roney-Dougal, Alexander Stasinski

  3. Minutes of Scientific Committee meeting at Cambridge on 1st April 2015

    The minutes were approved subject to the correction on one error. There no matters arising not appearing elsewhere on the agenda.

  4. Minutes of BMC AGM at Cambridge on 1st April 2015

    The minutes were received and will be presented for approval at the 2016 AGM.

  5. Academic and Financial Report on the BMC at Cambridge in April 2015

    A comprehensive detailed report from Tom Fisher and Rachel Camina had been circulated in advance of the meeting. The meeting had proved extremely popular, there having been 580 delegates, of whom 218 were research students. The report contained full details of the pro- gramme including public lectures, afternoon workshops and additional events such as the invited discussion on The Future of Proof and the Women in Mathematics reception.
    The financial outcome of the joint meeting had been  unexpectedly healthy .
    Aspects of the practical organisation of the conference that were viewed as successful included sponsorship, AV streaming, websites, and the use of a cloud-based spreadsheet. Aspects of the organisation that, with hindsight, might have been changed and/or improved were the lack of one-day registration, the lack of transport between venues that were 15-20 minutes' walk apart, levels of expenses for morning and workshop speakers and the timing of the start of work on the conference booklet. The Cambridge organisers would be happy to share further comments on these with future organisers. Some, for example the single registration fee, were special to the joint nature of the meeting. Much of the sponsorship covered the costs of postgraduate students and a significant contribution to this came from the Heilbronn Institute. It was acknowledged that some members of the UK mathematical community have expressed concerns about such sponsorship.
    The Committee agreed that the meeting had been successful and thanked the Cambridge representatives.

  6. Update on Plans for BMC in Bristol 21-24 March 2016

    Lynne Walling reported as follows:

    As previously reported, the dates are 21-24 March, 2016, at the University of Bristol. Registration is now open via an online shop, accessible through the BMC 2016 website matyd/BMC/. Early, standard registration is £75; early student/retired registration is £40 (we are not charging registration to public, plenary, morning, or workshop speakers). Later, maps and information regarding hotels, pubs, restaurants will be added to the website, as well as registration for the conference dinner (still being arranged and priced).
    We were awarded the LMS funding (£12,500). CMI has agreed to provide $7,000 toward direct support of keynote speakers (only). The Heilbronn Chair has agreed to provide £6,000, and the Heilbronn Associate Chair has agreed to provide £1,500-2,000. Some of the morning speakers are paying for their travel and accommodation; some of the workshop organisers have some funds to help with their speakers' travel expenses. The workshop organisers have begun selecting and inviting speakers. We have emphasised to them that we want a good balance, taking into account gender and seniority.
    As agreed with the Heilbronn Chair, we will have a session of speed talks wherein post- docs give 2-5 minute talks (were still debating the length). (We've had 2-minute talks at an in-house meeting of the pure and applied groups here, and 2-minute talks at the 2nd EU/US Workshop on Automorphic Forms and Related Topics last summer; both times the speed talks were well-received.)
    We wrote to all the Scheme 3 grant holders asking if they'd like to have a Monday morning or Thursday afternoon meeting here. Several wrote back saying their project is currently moth- balled; one wrote back saying they are too far away. R. Sharp (Warwick, Ergodic Theory) wrote to request a Thursday afternoon meeting; he had already been arranging this with Thomas Jordan (Bristol).
    Speaker/schedule information:
    Public speakers: Kristen Lauter & Hendrik Lenstra
    1. Algebra; organisers Tim Burness & Jeremy Rickard; plenary speaker Alex Lubotzky;
      morning speakers Radha Kessar & Laszlo Pyber
    2. Analysis; organisers Michiel van den Berg & John Mackay; plenary speaker Luigi Ambrosio;
      morning speakers Andrea Malchiodi & Stefan Wenger
    3. Combinatorics; organisers Thomas Bloom & Julia Wolf; plenary speaker Maria Chud- novsky; morning speakers Benny Sudakov & Balasz Szegedy (to be confirmed)
    4. Ergodic Theory; organisers Thomas Jordan & Corinna Ulcigrai; plenary speaker Amie Wilkinson; morning speakers Omri Sarig & Nalini Anantharaman (to be confirmed)
    5. Number Theory; organisers Andrew Booker & Tim Browning; plenary speaker Peter Sar- nak; morning speakers Emmanuel Kowalski & Sarah Zerbes
    6. Probability; organisers Marton Balazs & Balint Toth; plenary speaker Robert Adler; morn- ing speakers Nathanael Berestycki & Benedek Valko

    Working draft of the schedule:
    Monday: 1:00-2:15 registration/coffee 2:15-2:30 welcome 2:30-3:30 plenary (Peter Sarnak) 3:40-4:40 plenary (Maria Chudnovsky) 5:30-6:30 public (Kristen Lauter) 6:30-8:00 reception
    Tuesday morning: 9:00-9:50 morning talks 10:00-10:50 morning talks 11:00-11:30 coffee 11:30- 12:30 plenary (Alex Lubotzky) 12:30-2:00 lunch
    Tues afternoon: 2:00-4:30 special sessions (talks 2-2:30, 2:40-3:10, 3:20-3:50, 4-4:30) 4:30-5:00 coffee 5:00-6:00 plenary (Robert Adler) 7:00- ? conference dinner
    Wed morning: 9:00-9:50 morning talks 10:00-10:50 morning talks 11:00-11:30 coffee 11:30- 12:30 plenary (Amy Wilkinson) 12:30-2:00 lunch
    Wed afternoon: 2:00-4:30 special sessions 4:30-5:00 coffee 5:00-5:45?? speed talks ??5:45-6:30 snacks? 6:30-7:30 public (Hendrik Lenstra) ? 7:30-? publishers' reception
    Thurs morning: 9:00-9:50 morning talks 10:00-10:50 morning talks 11:00-11:30 coffee 11:30- 12:30 plenary (Luigi Ambrosio)
    The university has (finally) confirmed our room reservations: 4 lecture theatres in the Chem- istry bldg (one holding 100, two holding 196, with the room for the plenary lectures holding 339) as well as 2 lecture rooms in a relatively close bldg (Merchant Venture Bldg), each holding about 90. We have the reception area (ground floor and level -1) in the Merchant Venture Bldg for coffee, lunch, and displays. We have the Great Hall of the Wills Bldg for the first public talk (this room is quite large, gothic, and gorgeous  very dramatic).
    The Goldney Orangery has been reserved for the conference dinner.

    There was discussion of the innovative speed talks and of the relationship with LMS Scheme 3 groups. Following discussions on the draft timetable, the local organisers have (post meeting) suggested that on Tuesday morning, Lubotzky's talk starts at 11:45, following a 15 minute LMS presentation, that the AGM should be on on Tuesday afternoon, after the plenary talk and before the conference dinner, and that the meeting of the BMC Scientific Committee should be during lunch on Wednesday. The first of these will need to be agreed with the LMS.
    Concerns about, and awareness of, geographical diversity were raised. It was observed that, of twenty-two UK-based speakers at the 2014, 2015, 2016 BMCs, only two were from northern universities (including Scottish). Age diversity was also mentioned as an issue that should be monitored.

  7. Plans for BMC in Durham 3-6 April 2017

    Andrew Lobb reported as follows: The dates are 3rd - 6th April 2017.
    The public speaker will be Noam Elkies of Harvard University. We have four comfirmed
    plenary speakers: Eva Bayer-Fluckiger, Lausanne; Isabelle Gallagher, Paris; George Lusztig, MIT; and Jacob Lurie, Harvard. We are actively pursuing a couple of high profile mathematicians who say that they cannot commit too far in advance.
    We applied for and received an LMS grant, getting the offer letter at the end of July 2015. We received the full amount applied for: £15,540. We are of course happy to share details of the application with future organizers on request.
    We have opened a dialogue with Clay and with Heilbronn. We intend a face-to-face meeting with the director of Heilbronn, and we shall submit an application to Clay at the end of this calendar year.
    The mini-conferences will be in the areas of Algebra, Analysis, Geometry, Number Theory, and Topology. Each area will have two morning speakers, as well as around 10 talks of between 30 and 45 minutes, and a possibility for even briefer graduate student talks. Each area has been allocated an internal Durham organizer who will help in choosing a good external organizer to work alongside.
    We have reserved a large suite of lecture rooms on the Durham Science Site. The largest of these, to hold the plenary and the public lecture, holds 460 people. We also have three rooms of half this size as well as a host of smaller rooms on hold while we decide exactly how many we need. The total amount that Durham wishes to charge us for these rooms is £3000.
    We have reserved 220 college rooms for cheap accommodation. The university will also arrange special rates with local hotels to cope with the expected larger numbers.
    The conference dinner will be held on the evening of the 5th April, and will be in the Great Hall of Durham Castle. There is a maximum of 200 people who can fit into the hall when it is laid out for formal dining.
    Durham have recently supplied us with the 2017 rates for lunches, tea, coffee so we shall be able to make a more detailed budget in the near future.
    We have yet to liaise with publishers. At the moment we do not intend to seek other corporate sponsorship.

  8. Early Plans for BMC in St Andrews 2018

    Mike Todd reported that The dates will be 11-14 June 2018. Planning was at a preliminary stage and the opportunity was taken for Mike to seek advice from previous organisers on several aspects.

  9. Future BMCs

    Subject to formal approval at the Bristol AGM, the 2019 BMC will be in Lancaster. There was a brief discussion of potential hosts beyond 2019. If the five-year cycle of joint meetings with the BAMC continues then the 2020 meeting will be such a joint meeting.

  10. Other meetings

    YRM 2016 (Young Researchers in Mathematics) is to be held at the University of St Andrews from 1 August to 4 August. BCTCS 2016 (British Colloquium in Theoretical Computer Science) is to be held at Queeen's University Belfast from 22 March to 24 March, an unfortunate clash with BMC 2016.

  11. Any other business

    The Chair thanked the retiring members Rachel Camina, Tom Fisher and Brita Nucinkis for their contributions to the Committee.

  12. Date of next meeting
    (at the Bristol BMC)

    The current proposal is during lunchtime (12:30-14:00) on Wednesday 23 March.

David Jordan 20 October 2015