Scientific Committee Meeting: September 2010

Minutes of the meeting of 22 September 2010 at De Morgan House, London

Peter Giblin (Chair), John Hunton (Leicester), Alex Clark (Leicester),
Jim Shank (Kent), Peter Fleischman (Kent), David Jordan (Sheffield), Eugenia
Chen (Sheffield), Charles Goldie (LMS), Cathy Hobbs (LMS), Fiona Nixon
(LMS), Edmund Robertson (EdMS), Radha Kessar (EdMS)

  1. Welcome.
    Confirmation of membership.
    Secretary: Alex Clark (Leicester)
    Chair: Peter Giblin (Liverpool)
    LMS Representatives: Charles Goldie, Cathy Hobbs
    EdMS Respresentatives: Edmund Robertson, Radha Kessar
    Leicester: Alex Clark, John Hunton
    Kent: Peter Fleischmann, James Shank
    Sheffield: David Jordan, Eugenia Chen
    Elected at the 2010 BMC: Richard Pinch (GCHQ)
    Ex Officio: Fiona Nixon (Executive Secretary LMS)

  2. Apologies for absence:
    Representatives from the 2010 Maxwell Institute (JimHowie, Michael Singer)

  3. Minutes of meeting of the Scientific Committee in Edinburgh on 7 April 2010
    These were confirmed, with a typo pointed out in Item 7 in the spelling of Cathy.

    Matters arising from minutes:
    in Item 8 Michael Singer had asked whether it would be possible for the LMS to underwrite an element of risk as a sort
    of insurance amount. Fiona Nixon asked what the maximum loss had been, to which Peter Giblin replied that most BMCs have broken even or made a small profit, with York having a small loss. Fiona Nixon replied there is no contingency. It was pointed out that Edinburgh had a 1,000 GBP deficit for the BAMC.

  4. Chair of the Committee from 1 June 2011.
    Charles Goldie left the room. It was announced that the search committee, consisting of Cathy Hobbs and Edmund Robertson, both had Charles Goldie as a suggestion. The BMC Scientific Committee unanimously decided to put Charles Goldie's name to the AGM in Leicester as a suitable candidate willing to do the job. Charles Goldie returned to the room. It was noted that the nomination will be posted on the 2011 BMC website and other nominations can be made up to 2 weeks before the AGM. If there are other nominations then an election will take place at the AGM in 2011.

  5. Future BMCs.
    Sheffield for BMC 2013. Preliminary plans.
    David Jordan noted that there is no University of Sheffield accommodation available for the conference. He is currently in the process of exploring local hotels and the deposit required for reserving approximately 150 rooms. The programme will include Workshops in Probability, Category Theory, Analysis, K-theory and non-commutative Algebra. The gap at this stage is Topology, where there is no one yet on board. These Workshops will be formed roughly as in Leicester. They are currently exploring possible plenary speakers. Giblin asked if there is an anniversary for 2013. None was known to the committee.
    The timing of the meeting is still being considered, possibly the week leading up to Easter in March. The timing is being considered in its relation to the university schedule. It was suggested that some universities will not have the week after Easter.

    Current state of negotiations for 2014 and 2015.
    Peter Giblin reported that there are talks underway with Queen Mary University of London. The obstacles are the lack of halls of accommodation and inconveniently located affordable hotels.

    Would be the next joint meeting according to the usual 5 year cycle for joint meetings. Peter Giblin reported that discussions with C. Howls of the BAMC Scientific Committee are currently underway. Cambridge has been suggested as a candidate. Martin Hyland, the current head of department at Cambridge, is keen. The negotiations are still at a very early stage and the role of the Newton Institute has not yet been decided.
    For a London institution for 2014, Charles Goldie suggested as an alternative King's College.

  6. Academic and Financial Reports on the Maxwell Institute (Edinburgh/HeriotWatt) BMC 2010
    It was reported that the total budget was within 1,000 GBP of breaking even and the BAMC reserve fund came to the rescue.
    Goldie pointed out that there was not enough general seating. Jordan observed that the BMC Morning Speakers talks were not well attended. Giblin noted that the Morning Speakers talks were a bit specialised.
    The challenge for Leicester and Kent was set out as getting at least 200 participants, which would be considered a good result.

  7. Plans for Leicester 18-21 April 2011
    John Hunton reported on the progress of the programme. Most morning speakers are in place and E. Lindenstrauss, Karen Vogtmann, Raphael Rouqier, and Franz Pedit have been confirmed as plenary speakers. Penrose is currently being considered as a public speaker. Eight invitations to morning speakers hadgone out and 5 had confirmed. Hunton then solicited suggestions for approximately four slots. Various suggestions were
    Giblin asked about the situation with the Workshops. Hunton reported that there were roughly six Workshops planned, in Algebraic Topology, Algebraic Number Theory, Dynamical Systems, Differential Geometry, Representation Theory and likely one other related to Analysis. Hunton said the choice of speakers is not necessarily connected to the Workshops. Giblin asked for more details about the structure of the Workshops. Hunton reported that they had been given a 500 GBP budget from the LMS that is given over to the organisers.
    Hunton said the Workshop organisers had been steered to solicit talks from PhD students. The talks in the various Workshops will not have coordinated talks. Cathy Hobbs reported that the LMS Scheme 3 Harmonic Analysis group is to hold a meeting on Monday, could be related as a Workshop satellite meeting and this might give some travel money to participants. Hunton said he would go ahead and pursue holding similar satellite meetings of LMS Scheme 3 meetings in Leicester directly before the BMC unless the LMS objects.
    Edmund Robertson asked whether Leicester was planning a postgraduate conference. Hunton asked what the committee thought in light of the planned Young Researchers in Mathematics (YRM) meeting directly before the BMC.
    Robertson replied that previous BMCs had and that we want to bring them to the BMC if possible. Giblin asked that the LMS clarify its position on the funding of the YRM.
    Fiona Nixon replied that the LMS is currently considering the issue, which will go to council in October. Giblin pointed out that the 2011 YRM will take place in Warwick. Giblin will wait until the LMS has looked at the issue to approach the organisers of YRM. Jim Shank asked whether the YRM had been settled for 2012.
    Nixon replied that the location of the YRM for 2012 has not been decided but that the conference was likely to become an annual conference. Hunton wondered how the DTA funding would be related to the attendance at the two conferences. Nixon said she would raise the issue at the LMS.
    Richard Pinch pointed out that Leicester would presumably need to decide and could perhaps go ahead now. Pinch asked if Leicester was planning to abandon the postgraduate component, and Hunton replied no and that Leicester would likely go ahead with the postgraduate conference.
    Peter Fleischmann asked whether the YRM would feature established researchers. Giblin replied yes, including Atiyah and others.
    Edmund Roberston asked what about putting a young person on the BMC Scientific Committee as proposed in Edinburgh. Giblin pointed out that the
    YRM committee was an entirely local, young group. The YRM covers pure and applied. The BAMC is in Birmingham in 2011. Goldie asked what support postgraduates had to attend the BMC. Hunton pointed out that accommodation is not covered for postgraduates but that approximately 1,000 GBP had been set aside for postgraduate support. Pinch asked how we can make the BMC unique and distinguish it from the YRM. Shank suggested that perhaps the BMC was better suited for people at least 3 years into the degree. Hunton pointed out that the Workshop could perhaps bring in some PhD students. Goldie wondered whether postdocs had an allowance. Pott suggested the possibility of setting up a Career Workshop. Radha Kessar asked how the Workshops were organised for PhD participation and Hunton replied that he hoped the organisers of the workshops would arrange that. Jordan suggested the someone from the YRM committee to be nominated for the BMC committee to involve young people.
    Jordan wondered what the prize would be for the posters, noting that the BAMC had good ones. Pott suggested asking publishers to sponsor a prize. Goldie pointed out that publishers were already paying for the wine reception. Giblin pointed out that the posters must be judged. Pinch noted that a prize was an inexpensive way to get exposure. Fleischamann asked whether Leicester had any local sponsors, and Hunton replied that this avenue of funding was not promising. Giblin suggested that big firms that recruit mathematicians might be willing to sponsor a prize. Pinch added that a prize is much more likely to be acceptable to a company than other forms of sponsorship. Giblin then said he would get in contact with YRM and explore possible collaboration but pointed out that the resources are quite limited. Hunton noted that the timing is very unfortunate. Jordan wondered whether we could push the contact with YRM forward from October to September? Giblin noted that the YRM organisers are aware of the BMC/BAMC and Nixon said she would be contacting the organisers of the YRM shortly. Giblin noted that the Workshop idea of bringing in students was good.
    Roberston returned to the question of getting young researchers on the BMC Scientific Committee. Giblin replied that yes, he would explore the issue while exploring relations with the YRM. Hunton asked whether the committee had any issues with the LMS Scheme 3 meetings taking place in Leicester on Monday. Pott replied that it seemed a good idea and gets good use of the funds. Shank asked whether Leicester would have splinter groups as well, and Hunton replied yes. Goldie asked would the postgraduates talk to each other at the BMC, and Hunton replied yes and that there were no external speakers planned for that part of the conference. Goldie asked whether Leicester would ask for a speaker from Kent (2012) in keeping with the BMC tradition. Hunton replied that this was planned. Hunton described general organisational progress. The website to be run by university and should be up by early December. The room charges for lectures had been dramatically reduced to 40 GBP/day/lecture room, while the original quotes were roughly 10 times that amount. Jordan interjected that in Sheffield the Faculty would underwrite the costs. Hunton then asked about childcare costs. Hobbs pointed out that sponsorship from the IMA for extra childcare of 500 GBP was sufficient in the past. Nixon told the committee that the LMS funds childcare by individual application. The accommodation in Leicester is in the University Halls of Residence for somewhere in the range of 30-40 GBP/night for a B and B arrangement. Dinner would be available but at an extra cost. The conference dinner is planned for Wednesday night. Giblin asked about lunch. Hunton replied that lunch is open and available locally on campus. Goldie asked if there was an after dinner speaker planned, and Pott pointed out that this was a BAMC tradition not a BMC tradition. Hunton replied that no speaker was planned. Hunton noted that the Leicester speakers were in large measure senior.

  8. Plans for Kent 16-19 April 2012.
    Peter Fleischmann reported that the plenary speakers for the conference had been lined up and largely confirmed. The Turing Century anniversary would be incorporated into the BMC and reflected in the public speaker. For plenary speakers, Solomon Feferman (Stanford) has been approached. Other confirmed plenary speakers were Bessenrodt (Hannover), Lorenz (Temple), Reiten (Trondheim), Tretter (Bern). Morning speakers are still in the works. Working on getting a workshop on Turing's legacy. Other planned workshops: Algebraic transformation groups, Noncommutative geometry, Mathematical physics, Operator theory.
    An LMS grant application has been sent out. The accommodation will be 50 GBP/night for en-suite.

  9. The BMC and Young Researchers in Mathematics (
    Giblin pointed out that there would soon be a meeting with the organisers of the YRM. Pinch suggested asking the YRM organisers what they felt was missing in their meeting and see if the BMC could address the shortcomings of the YRM. Giblin noted that the YRM had large attendance. Shank noted that Statistics has a similar conference. Goldie confirmed that Statistics did have such a meeting and has had for many years and that it coexists with other, more established conferences. Eugenia Chen pointed out that the YRM lists sponsors on its website, including: the EPSRC, LMS, Winton Capital, Cambridge Philosophical Society. Hunton wondered what proportion of the students are from the UK. Chen replied that most of the roughly 300 participants are from the UK but that somewhere in the range 50-100 were from abroad. Radha Kessar pointed out that one of its main attractions is that it puts the postgraduates themselves in the driver's seat and that being involved in it looks good on the CV. All the keynote speakers have been UK based.

  10. Any other business
    Edmund Roberston reported that while he only remains on the Scientific Committee until May 2011, he would be happy to continue to maintain the internet Archive for the BMC but that he would need to receive the reports and minutes by e-mail to do so. The committee expressed its gratitude for his work on the Archive and enthusiastically supported its continuation. It was suggested that eventually a non-personal e-mail be set up for communication so that the transition to future archivists could go smoothly. Robertson said he would forward Giblin an e-mail address for the papers related to the BMC and that he will post the minutes.

  11. Date of next meeting in Leicester
    John Hunton asked what was preferred. Giblin suggested Tuesday (19 April) for the AGM and Wednesday (20 April) (possibly before dinner) for the ScientificCommittee but that Thursday was also a possibility. Hunton asked what the length of the meetings should be and Giblin estimated 5 minutes for the AGM and somewhere between 1 and 1.5 hours for the Scientific Committee meeting.