Report on BMC 2009

BMC/IMS Meeting 6-9 April 2009
at National University of Ireland Galway.

Ted Hurley & James Ward
September 2009

The 61st meeting of the BMC and the 22nd meeting of the IMS was held at the National University of Ireland Galway from 6-9 April 2009.

It was an historic occasion as it was the first BMC to be held outside the United Kingdom. It was also the second occasion on which the BMC was held as a joint meeting with the Irish Mathematical Society, the first such being at Queen's University, Belfast in 2004.

The meeting was supported by the following:

1. London Mathematical Society, LMS.

2. Irish Mathematical Society, IMS.

3. Science Foundation Ireland, SFI.

4. School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUIGalway
and in general by the National University of Ireland Galway, NUIG.

5. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (for UK research students) EPSRC.

There were five Plenary Speakers:

David Eisenbud (Berkeley),
Ron Graham (UC San Diego),
Ben Green (Cambridge),
Rostislav Grigorchuk (Texas A& M),
Frances Kirwan (Oxford).

A very successful Public Lecture entitled "Mathematics and Smallpox" was given on Monday evening by Tom Körner (Cambridge).

There were ten 'morning' speakers and three Special Sessions on (i) Analysis, (ii) Computational Algebra and (iii) Mathematics Education Research.

A History of Mathematics lecture was given by Rod Gow (UCD) on the Monday afternoon followed by a special lecture given by Tom Laffey (UCD).

There were Splinter Group sessions on Differential Equations and Numerical Analysis, Geometry and Topology, History of Mathematics, Operator Theory and Real Analysis, Ring Theory, Algebraic Combinatorics, Group and Representation Theory.

The Special Sessions had in total 15 full (45-50 minute) talks and a small number of shorter talks. The Splinter Groups had 48 talks listed on the programme and a small number of additional Splinter Group talks were arranged later.

There was a short presentation by Ben Mestel on the Isaac Newton Institute and by Jim Howie on the Maxwell Institute.

A very successful Postgraduate Conference, organised essentially by the postgraduates themselves, was held on the Monday morning 6 April. Special thanks are due to Liam Naughton, a postgrad at NUIG, who did the brunt of the work involved here and kept the postgrads entertained. About 55 postgrads participated. There was also an opportunity for postgrads of presenting posters at one of two sessions on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon and 30 or so posters were presented; these were very impressive indeed and remarked on very favourably by a number of people. Participants were allowed to send on a pdf of their posters which were printed out in-house at NUIG.

A satellite conference, "3rd International Workshop on Elementary Operators and their applications", was held at Queen's University Belfast, 14-17 April 2009.

Taking all into account the number of participants amounted to approximately 207.

Approximately 190 tickets were issued to the public for the 'Public lecture' and there were very few spaces available at this talk in a theatre with 375 seats.
(Indeed Tom Körner's talk attracted national and local newspaper and radio interest. A Senior Public Health Nurse sought further information subsequent to the talk.)

There were book exhibitions from the London Mathematical Society, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Springer Verlag and Birkhaeuser Verlag. Additionally an exhibition of rare mathematical books was organised by the James Hardiman University Library.

Videos (high definition!) were taken of the Opening Ceremony and, with permission from the speakers, of the five Plenary Talks and the Public Lecture. These are an excellent production and are available in HD (BluRay) format and also in normal DVD format.

The local organisers are happy to report that they received no major complaints, and that of those who expressed an opinion, they were very pleased with the mathematical programme, excellent speakers and satisfactory organisation.