LIAISON NEWS
SEPTEMBER 2006



In this issue:

    New Orleans Joint Math Meetings
    Project NExT/YMM Poster Session
    PREP Workshop for Department Chairs
    National Math Panel begins work
    Awards announced at ICM
    New TENSOR/SUMMA grants announced
    New MAA publications
    SUMMA NREUP
    Regional Undergrad Math Conferences
    NSF/NIGMS grant program for Math/Bio projects


JOIN US IN NEW ORLEANS

The 2007 Joint Mathematics Meetings will be held January 5-8 (Friday-Monday) in New Orleans, LA. We hope you'll make plans to join us. Here are some items to keep in mind.

-The annual Liaisons Breakfast is set for 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 6. It will be held in the Waterbury Ballroom in the New Orleans Sheraton Hotel.
-Deadline for submission of abstracts is Tuesday, September 26.
-Registration by November 14 is required to receive your registration packet in advance.

Full information can be found at the meeting website http://www.ams.org/amsmtgs/2098_intro.html.


PROJECT NEXT/YOUNG MATHEMATICIAN'S NETWORK POSTER SESSION

Project NExT and the Young Mathematician's Network invite submissions of abstracts for a poster session to be held on Friday, January 5, 2007 from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. (room TBA) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans. The poster size will be 48" by 36"; it is best to have the posters 36" high. Posters and materials for posting pages on the posters will be provided on-site. We expect to accept about thirty posters from different areas within the mathematical sciences..

If you are interested in participating, submit copies of your abstract to: Mike Axtell, Wabash College, axtellm@wabash.edu AND Kevin Charlwood, Washburn University, kevin.charlwood@washburn.edu.
 
Our poster sessions the past ten years were a great success. Visitors to the session each year were numerous, and included many prospective employers. This session provides an excellent way to showcase one's work in a relaxed, informal environment.
 
The deadline for final consideration is December 8, 2006. Preference will be given to those who did not earn a Ph.D. prior to 2001; please include with your submission when and where you received your Ph.D., or indicate when you expect to receive it. Please submit your abstract via e-mail, not an attachment. If it includes mathematical formulas, please submit it in basic LaTeX or TeX format. Submissions will be acknowledged quickly by e-mail. Accepted abstracts will be posted at www.youngmath.net/Documents/2007/Posters/ before the Joint Meetings.


PREP WORKSHOP: LEADING THE ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT

It's not too late to register for "Leading the Academic Department: A Workshop for Chairs of Mathematical Sciences Departments," which will be held October 12-15, in Washington, DC.

Department chairs are constantly faced with questions that test their leadership skills. Leading the Academic Department focuses on vision and leadership; those elusive qualities that chairs are expected to possess but have little opportunity to develop and refine while dealing with the day-to-day demands of academic administration. It is often the quality of leadership, rather than management, that makes the difference in how successful is one's time as chair.

Over the course of a long weekend, current and future mathematics department chairs will discuss, with their colleagues in similar positions, case studies of actual problem situations, as well as a wide range of timely issues. For more information or to register, visit www.maa.org/prep/2006.


NATIONAL MATH PANEL BEGINS WORK

On April 18, President Bush announced the formation of a National Mathematics Advisory Panel, tasked with advising the President and Secretary of Education on how best to improve U.S. mathematics education. The guiding policy for the Panel is stated as: "To help keep America competitive, support American talent and creativity, encourage innovation throughout the American economy, and help State, local, territorial, and tribal governments give the Nation's children and youth the education they need to succeed, it shall be the policy of the United States to foster greater knowledge of and improved performance in mathematics among American students."

Most of us will certainly agree with the general terms set forward here. We can follow the progress of the Panel's work through the website www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel. The Panel is already drawing a great deal of attention; one blog devoted to following its progress is Math Panel Watch, at mathpanelwatch.blogspot.com/. Additional background on the kinds of issues that might interest the Panel were recently addressed through the MAA-facilitated "Common Ground" discussions (www.maa.org/common-ground).


FIELDS MEDALS, NEVANLINNA PRIZE, AND GAUSS PRIZE WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Four Fields Medals were awarded on August 22, the opening day of the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians. The winners are Andrei Okounkov, Grigori Perelman, Terence Tao, and Wendelin Werner. The Nevanlinna Prize for contributions to mathematical information theory was awarded to Jon Kleinberg. A new prize for contributions to applied mathematics, named for Gauss, went to Kiyoshi Itô.

Perelman's work has been the most widely-reported in the press, and is believed to provide the tools necessary to prove Poincare's Conjecture. For additional information, visit MAA online (www.maa.org) and look for the news item (or access the article directly at www.maa.org/news/220806Fields.html). There is also an article on the awards in the September issue of FOCUS.


GRANTS FOR TENSOR-SUMMA PROGRAM: STRENGTHENING UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITY MATHEMATICS ACHIEVEMENT

The Tensor Foundation has provided funding for the MAA to award grants for programs designed to encourage pursuit and enjoyment of mathematics among middle school students, high school students, and/or beginning college students from groups traditionally under-represented in the field of mathematics.  College and university mathematical sciences faculty and their departments and institutions may submit proposals.  They should collaborate with secondary and middle school mathematics faculty as appropriate depending on the focus of the project.  Proposed programs may replicate existing successful programs, adapt components of such programs, or be innovative.

Grants will be up to $6000 and will be made to the institution of the project director for a one-year project. Additional information is available at www.maa.org/programs/tensor-summa.html.


NEW PUBLICATIONS

The MAA has just published 3 new books that you should check out:

"The Edge of the Universe" celebrates the people and ideas that are mathematics. Containing the editors' selection from the first ten years of Math Horizons, the MAA's student magazine. Beautifully printed with 24 pages of full-color images, a must for all math clubs.

"aha! Gotcha" and "aha! Insight" contain 144 wonderful puzzles from the reigning king of recreational mathematics, Martin Gardner.

"First Steps for Math Olympians Using the American Mathematics Competitions" considers the basic ideas behind the solutions to the majority of the problems put forth by the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) and presents examples and exercises from past exams to illustrate the concepts.

These great books are available online at www.maa.org or by calling 1(800) 331-1622


SUMMA NATIONAL RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR UNDERGRADUATES

The Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement (SUMMA) Program supports the participation of mathematics undergraduates from underrepresented groups in focused and challenging research experiences to increase their interest in advanced degrees and careers in mathematics. The MAA and its SUMMA Program invite mathematical sciences faculty to apply for grants to host an MAA Student Research Program on their own campuses for six weeks during summer 2007. Further program details are available on the project website, www.maa.org/nreup.


REGIONAL UNDERGRADUATE MATHEMATICS CONFERENCES

The MAA has received funding to provide support for institutions or groups of institutions that wish to initiate or expand undergraduate mathematics conferences. Conferences may assume any format that accomplishes the primary object of the grant, which is to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to present mathematical results and to better expand their knowledge of the wide range of theory, history, and applications of the mathematics sciences. More detailed program information, including guidelines for conference organizers and sample proposals, are available through the project website, www.maa.org/rumc.


JOINT DMS/NIGMS INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT RESEARCH IN THE AREA OF MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY

From the program solicitation:

This competition is designed to support research on mathematical problems related to biological problems in areas supported by NSF/DMS and NIH/NIGMS. A direct relationship between a biological application and the mathematics is expected. Research teams, which include scientists from both the life sciences community and the mathematical sciences community, are encouraged. Both new and existing collaborations will be supported. Proposals from individual investigators will need to make the case that the individual has expertise in both areas.

Successful proposals will identify innovative mathematics or statistics needed to solve an important biological problem. Research which would apply standard mathematics or statistics to solve biological problems is not appropriate for this competition and should be submitted directly to NIH. Similarly, proposals with research in mathematics or statistics that is not tied to a specific biological problem should be submitted to the appropriate DMS program at NSF. Proposals designed to create new software tools based on existing models and methods will not be accepted in this competition.

Full Proposal Deadline: December 15, 2006. Please see http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf06607.