Scientific Committee meeting: April 2004

Minutes of the BMC Scientific Committee held at Stranmillis University College, Belfast at 8.45 pm on 6 April 2004.


Present: Garth Dales (Chair), David Armitage and Martin Mathieu (Belfast), Peter Giblin and Hugh Morton (Liverpool), Zinaida Lykova and Nicholas Young (Newcastle), John Greenlees and Caroline Series (LMS), Graham Jameson and Edmund Robertson (EdMS), Sandra Pott (elected at AGM).

Apologies: Helen Robinson (LMS).

  1. The chair welcomed new members of the committee. Hugh Morton (Liverpool) was appointed Secretary.

  2. The minutes of the meeting in De Morgan House on 22 January 2004 were approved.

    Matters arising: It was noted under item 1 that Martin Mathieu would remain on the committee for the meeting in September 2004.

  3. In response to questions at the AGM about the desirability of having a short satellite meeting for postgraduate students before the main meeting it was agreed that the decision about arrangements for postgraduates should be left to the host organisation.

  4. Arrangements for the next meeting.
    It is not possible to move the date to the previous week, to accommodate teaching commitments by Liverpool members, because of the unavailability of De Morgan House, and the existing arrangements with BAMC representatives. It was confirmed that the meeting would take place in De Morgan House on Thursday 30 September 2004 at 11.00 am.

    A meeting with representatives of the BAMC is planned for the previous afternoon, Wednesday 29 September, also in De Morgan House. It was agreed to ask Peter Giblin, Hugh Morton, Caroline Series and Garth Dales to represent the BMC Scientific Committee at this meeting.

  5. Future meetings of the BMC.


    Garth Dales reported serious problems in finding a venue for the 2007 meeting. One potential host (Leicester) had been approached and had responded enthusiastically, but had then withdrawn following a lack of enthusiasm within the department.

    QMW had also responded very enthusiastically, and there are still possibilities that this may be feasible. However it appears that their proposed accommodation arrangements will not work, because of the University's contracts with the students for a 40-week letting. This is emerging in other places too as a potential difficulty in arranging meetings over the Easter period. Subsequent discussion considered this problem, particularly with the desirability of having meetings in SE England in mind. Proposals to have a 'Scientific Host' at some distance from the actual physical venue were considered; there was a general view that this would be OK in principle, but would not be attractive to the physical host in terms of the amount of unappreciated work involved. The idea of using private conference facilities was ruled out on grounds of cost, and the target of £50 as a maximum B & B charge was agreed. Garth Dales will continue to explore possibilities, initially with the hope that QMW can solve the accommodation problem, and failing this he will approach Surrey, Kent and Swansea. We need to have a definite proposal in time for the September 2004 Scientific Committee.


    Garth Dales reported that the BAMC are quite likely to want a meeting in Manchester in 2008, on their 50th anniversary. If there is to be a joint meeting with them in 2008 it would almost certainly have to be there.

    There is also a possibility of a joint meeting in 2009 or 2010 in Oxford, although costs could well be high. This would be particularly attractive if there were a new building at Oxford at that time, which is a realistic possibility. It was agreed to wait for BAMC developments, at their Norwich meeting on 24 April.

  6. Arrangements for determination of the next Chair for the Scientific Committee. We are required to publish at least one name 2 weeks before the AGM in Liverpool. It was agreed to appoint a nominating committee of two people to bring forward one name, preferably of someone with experience as a past BMC organiser, or knowledge of the Scientific Committee. John Greenlees and Garth Dales are to approach Rob Curtis to join John Greenlees as nominators. [Note: John Greenlees and Rob Curtis are indeed acting as nominators.]

  7. Archives and records are being collected by the LMS; requests during the BMC continue to bring in further details. There remain rather a lot of gaps and errors in our lists of previous speakers, etc., and Garth Dales would appreciate help in improving the data.

  8. Martin Mathieu reported on the Belfast meeting. This has attracted a good attendance among graduate students, and the overall numbers (approximately 240 registered participants) is substantial, in view of the geographical constraints. It was suggested that we need to encourage more established mathematicians to take part, besides those with formal commitments to the programme.

    The preliminary budget shows a deficit of some £1000; the generous policy on registration fees, which were waived for graduates and retired people, and last minute changes by participants, appear to be the main factors.

    Liverpool were advised to be aware of this when deciding their policies.

  9. Hugh Morton and Peter Giblin outlined plans for the meeting in Liverpool. This meeting, Mathematics 2005, is to incorporate both the 57th BMC and the 47th BAMC simultaneously. There are a total of 11 Plenary speakers, of whom roughly 6 fall in BAMC areas and 5 in BMC. There will be one plenary talk on its own each day, while the other plenary talks will have alternate BMC or BAMC activity scheduled at the same time.

    Because of the larger number of these talks there is time for 12 BMC morning speakers rather than the more recent 16.

    Lists of potential speakers were discussed, and additions suggested. Peter Giblin is to decide on the order of invitations, which will be issued after the meeting.

    It is proposed to have an evening session centred around education topics, which is expected to be of interest to all participants.

    Liverpool were encouraged to advertise the programme of the meeting through the European Mathematical Society and other national European societies.

  10. Nicholas Young brought forward a list of proposed Special Sessions and organisers for the Newcastle meeting, which were welcomed. He also presented a list of possible plenary speakers for comments and additions. It was suggested that they aim for one plenary talk per day, with one further late morning unopposed talk by a distinguished UK speaker.

    Note: The committee at a previous meeting had commended the pattern of 5 plenary talks adopted by Birmingham.

  11. Garth Dales thanked the retiring members, John Greenlees, Graham Jamieson and David Armitage, for their work on the committee.

The meeting closed at 11.30.

Minutes signed by Hugh Morton on 10 May 2004.