December 3 Day 635: Mathematics, Art, and Long Distant Friends

Today I participated in the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences meeting, held at 600 Pennsylvania Ave. While planned as a hybrid meeting, most participants chose to attend in person. So much so, that the space was too crowded. But it was delightful regardless.

People who had been collaborating virtually for more than a year got to meet in person for the first time. We maintained good masking protocols throughout the day. And we experienced the joy of getting things done during the breaks simply because we were present with one another.

Leona Harris, executive director for NAM and me, president of MAA.

At every possible opportunity, I took advantage of the rooftop garden — for some mask-free fresh air. The sunset did not disappoint.

The day ended with a celebration of David Bressoud, retiring director of CBMS. Wine and cheese provided by Uri Treisman

Dave Levermore and Charlie Steinhorn pay tribute to David Bressoud (attending remotely).

I have known David for more than 20 years. Serving on the MAA Spectrum editorial board, I worked through the manuscript for his book Proofs and Confirmations:The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture. I learned a lot in the process. It eventually led to co-writing several papers with my father (a quantum physicist), his former post doc, and my writing partner, Art Benjamin. Honestly, there was nothing better than writing an article and including co-authors J.J. Quinn and J. J. Quinn.

Since that time, David served as a reference when I applied to jobs (and there were three years from 2003-2005 that I called on him heavily in that capacity.) He became president of MAA 2009-2010. I have followed in his footsteps 12 years later.

While enjoying the hospitality of AMS’s Washington office, I recognized a few pieces of mathematical art. The photograph of Amie Wilkerson’s chalkboard by Jessica Wynne (see Colossal for more) and two by Frank Farris reminiscent of MC Escher’s metamorphosis.

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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