Saturday, August 02, 2008

Math Fest

So, what have I been up to? This weekend has been Math Fest, the summer meeting of the Mathematical Association of America. They move it around, and this year, it's in Madison. That's great, because it's so close. When it's in San Jose or Pittsburgh, at most one or two people from our department can go. This year, about a dozen of us went. That means more opportunity to go to talks, network, attend panel discussions, and just generally do the stuff one does at a national meeting.

The bad news is, it's an hour and a half drive to Madison, and we didn't have the money to stay up in hotels. So we drove it, both ways, each of the last three days. We've had to leave fairly early, and gotten back fairly late. So I'm pretty tired.

The conference went well, for the most part. There seemed to be a lot more logistical glitches than there usually are at these things. Two different sessions booked in the same room, that sort of thing. Some of the rooms were very crowded, and others were 3/4 empty.

The program itself was really good, as usual. I went to some very good talks. I learned a few things that I might be able to use in classes. And I went to one series of talks that I doubt I'll ever use in any way, but it was damn good.

This morning, there was the first annual Math Fest 5K Fun Run/Walk. When I found out about that, I signed up for it of course. However, I started to wonder if this was a good idea. It's been so hot and humid the last few days, I thought I might be pretty ripe for the rest of the day. A lot of the runners had hotel rooms to go back to in order to shower, but that wasn't really an option for me. And, one of my friends thought she wanted to walk the 5K, and I thought that I would keep her company. So I got a nice walk, a free T-shirt, and a personal worst time for the 5K, by a factor of about two.

Overall, it was a good conference. I'm glad that I got to go. I'm ready for a rest, though.