April 7 Day 760: A Conference Deferred

I am so over virtual conferences. It’s hard to motivate myself to attend and focus. Based on the attendance I am seeing at some of the sessions today, I’m not the only person feeling this way.

The big January Math Meeting (AKA JMM2022) didn’t happen in January because of the omicron variant. Joining math friends and colleagues in Seattle to celebrate mathematics has transformed to another virtual meeting happening NOW (April 6-9).

Originally I wasn’t planning on attending because I had accepted an invitation to the MAA Rocky Mountain Section Spring meeting in Colorado. In response to omicron and the unexpected overlap with the JMM, the Rocky Mountain Section changed their date and went virtual.

Today I’ve been attending presentations in support of friends.

Session on Undergraduate Research after the pandemic
Inspiring Project NExT Lecture by Edray Goins.
Frank Farris’s presentation included a sneak peek of his upcoming MAA Focus cover.
Another panel on pandemic effects on our profession.

What do I notice? What do I wonder? I notice that sessions are sparsely attended. I wonder whether other people are as tired as I am of virtual conferences. Or is this an indication of how difficult it is to attend a virtual conference in addition to everything else that we are committed to because virtual means we can do it all (or at least try to do it all).

The greatest excitement occurred when there was a technology “glitch.”

In answer to Frank’s question, it was everyone. Apparently the server went down. Frank’s tweet was 2 minutes before his scheduled talk. Everything was back up within 15 minutes, but that doesn’t help much for a 20 minute talk. Frank handled the situation with grace, charm, and a little bit of zen. Well done.

I like the flexibility of virtual for people that cannot or do not want to travel whether for health, environmental, or financial reasons. But I am more than ready to attend conferences in person. Apparently Gathering4Gardner is happening in Atlanta right now. I really wish I was there instead.

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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