Mathematical friends know I have a “thing” for the golden ratio Φ (pronounced “fee”). So I enjoyed the fact that on the AMATYC 2021 conference advertisement, Phoenix was written as ΦNIX.
It is my first time attending the AMATYC conference ever and it is the first in-person conference since the Louisiana/Mississippi MAA Section Meeting February 28-29, 2020 (just one week before the COVID-19 shut-down in Washington State. ) I have seen a few friends from MAA–some I have known for a long time, others I have previously only known virtually during COVID. And that makes this day very special.
But it is not back to normal.
Firstly, name tags are more important than ever. Not only have people changed their hair colors and styles, they are wearing masks. I barely recognized someone I have known for many years. Maybe its the hat. Maybe its the face mask. Maybe its my glasses.
Chairs are noticeably further apart in the large lecture hall. I rather like that. But it is not 6 foot social distancing.
Registration numbers are about half of what would have been expected pre-Covid.
I love the fun and welcoming atmosphere of this meeting. It might be that MAA VP and AMATYC Southwest VP April Strom has been showing me the ropes and introducing me around. Or it could be that people here are just that nice and longing for human interaction.
The dynamic duo of James Tanton and Lindy Elkins-Tanton were worth the price of admission. I have heard James wax poetic about Lindy’s work for years. It was phenomenal to hear her tell her story proposing and planning for the exploration to a metal asteroid, Psyche. Of course there is still much left to be done and more to be learned. It needs to be a book. Just saying. Who do you think should play Dr. Elkins-Tanton in the movie version?
The exhibit hall was scaled down, mostly text book publishers and online home work systems. No receptions. No open food or drink. I was promised margaritas. No such luck.
Although later that evening in AMATYC President Kate Kozak’s suite, there was a special wine served.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.
Cover image is from the Northern Arizona fly-over. Grand Canyon right?