Jackson Square in New Orleans. Photo By Andrew Holmes
Over winter break several OU undergrads went to the largest annual conference in mathematics: the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM). Every January it is in a different city and this year it was in New Orleans. We mentioned the JMM here.
They gave a talk about their research with Dr. Kornelson in one of the research conferences for experts which are a part of the JMM. One of those students, Andrew Holmes, was kind enough to answer some questions from Blog HQ about his experience at the JMM and in New Orleans. If you want all the other juicy details, you’ll have to ask him yourself!
Blog HQ: How is it you ended up being invited to go to the JMM?
Andrew Holmes: At the start of the Fall semester I got involved with a collaborative research project under the direction of Dr. Kornelson and during the course of the year I found out our research was going to be presented at the JMM.
HQ: How did you get there, and did you have any adventures on the trip?
AH: I went with my fellow research members Patrick Orchard and Bryan Archer, and we ended up renting a car and drove all the way to Baton Rouge to present at a Geometry and Analysis workshop at LSU campus, and from there headed to the JMM. I think the biggest adventure was going on a trip for a week with some people you know only from working with them on campus and end up becoming good friends.
HQ: Tell us about your talk. How did it go? How many people were there?
AH: We were presenting our research over Maximal and Orthogonal Sets of Bernoulli Measures. We put in quite a bit of time working on revisions to slides and rehearsing our different parts of the talk. When we gave our talk in Baton Rouge and New Orleans it went smoothly with the aide of critiques from our mentors Dr. Kornelson and Dr. Erin Pearse (as well as the students of the applied math seminar). In Baton Rouge we had about 10 people there and at the JMM in New Orleans we had about 9-10 people there as well.
HQ: Did you meet any famous mathematicians?
AH: Yes, actually as a matter of fact I had the chance to meet Dr. David Larson (Texas A&M) who is one of the collaborators of Frames for Undergraduates as well as listen to a couple of presenters who also were coauthors of the book. I also was able to hear talks by some people who had done collaborative research with Dr. Palle Jorgenson whose results we used in our research. Also in a reception for undergraduate students we got to meet the president of the Mathematical Association of America.
Which way to infinity? Photo by Andrew Holmes
HQ: What other things did you do at the JMM?
AH: In addition to going to talks and checking out the exhibits, made new friends with other undergraduate students. One of the biggest social things was going to try different local food such as the Butcher, Napoleon House and Acme Oyster Co. And of course who can forget the beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde.
HQ: What was the best part of being there? What was the most surprising thing?
AH: For me the best part was able to meet new people and forge new relationships. The other best part was going to the different talks that dealt with something interesting I had not heard before. I don’t know how many time I made a note of some sort of result or presentation that I wanted to look up.
For me the most surprising thing was how math community feels like a community in hearing different advice from professors, post-docs and fellow students. It was also really motivational hearing encouragement from the attendees of our talks. I think the last thing that surprised me was how massive the JMM was, I think I remember a figure of at least 5400 people registered for the conference, and various talks going on in parallel at 3 different hotel conference centers for 4 days.
Also the best thing was the excellent cuisine!
HQ: What other things did you do in New Orleans?
AH: Other cool things were seeing some of the live music ensembles on the corner of Bourbon Street, as well as going to this one nice bar that had some good live jazz music (d.b.a.). If you like seafood, New Orleans is amazing with their different cuisine. I highly recommend you try some of the local flavor like poboys, etouffee, gumbo, and oysters.
Looks like Andrew isn't a vegetarian.
HQ: Anything else you want to talk about?
AH: In going to the JMM I think it just served to motivate my studies and really helped me realize how many different exciting areas of mathematics there are. If you ever have the chance to get involved in an REU or research project definitely take advantage and try to give a talk. It will help you understand how to convey your knowledge of your research to others and definitely help you build public speaking skills while allowing you to forge relationships and find others with interests similar to yours (math and non-math related).