February 27 Day 356: Golden Section Confession

Did you know that the members of the MAA living in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Hawaii, and Pacific US Islands refer to their local region as the “Golden Section”? (Double entendre fully intended. ) They have a spiral in their logo that is made of golden rectangles (in blue below) containing a classic golden spiral (in gold below).

I attended the Golden Section’s Spring Meeting today and it was delightful. A virtual conference with unopposed plenary sessions in Zoom, integrated into the beach conference setting from Gather.

I got to talk with friends from the Golden Section but also ran into members from other regions, including two members of the Board of Directors, a Senior Director from HQ, and the MAA Press acquisitions editor. In each case, I had the opportunity to engage in intimate conversations that were not possible at previous virtual conferences I have attended.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talks and events I attended.

Marty Weissman suggested an alternative to drawing a big red X through a computation that claims (1/2) + (1/3) = (2/5). Instead he recommended the response ” that’s not the sum, that’s the mediant!” (I must remember the mediant as an example of an operation on fractions that is not well-defined on rational numbers. )

There was a student poster session and a mathematical art exhibition in Gather.

It was delightful to watch official Section Visitior, Dr. Tensia Soto, speaking on intentionally bringing diversity, inclusivity, & equity awareness into the classroom.

The organizers were creative and everything ran smoothly.

Now to my confession: Because registration was free (and I was not the official Section Visitor), I did not feel obligated to attend all the events. When I checked the participant list (either in Gather or in Zoom), the numbers were respectable but not the larger-than-expected crowd that preregistration indicated. So I ask myself, would I have attended more if I had to pay even a minimal registration? Would the preregistration numbers be more accurate with a minimal fee? Or is collecting a small fee more trouble than its worth?

Cover image by Mohamed Almari titled Silhouette of Golden Gate Bridge during Golden Hour

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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