Report on the 2013 Sheffield BMC

The Colloquium was held from the afternoon of Monday 25 March to lunchtime on Thursday 28 March at the University of Sheffield. The venues were the Arts Tower (plenary and morning lectures), the Hicks Building (workshops) and St George's Church (public lecture). Feedback on the academic content and organisation was pos- itive although there were unfortunate difficulties due to weather conditions (outside and inside!). There were 202 registrations, of whom 70 were postgraduate students. Two postgraduates withdrew at a late stage and their fees were refunded.

Plenary lectures were given by Ragni Piene (Oslo, Polytopes, discriminants and toric geometry, Mikhail Kapranov (Yale, Higher Segal spaces ), Guy Henniart (Paris 11, From modular forms to automorphic representations: a tale of Hecke operators, continued ), Laurent Saloff-Coste (Cornell, Random walks and the geometry of groups ) and Thomas Schick (Göttingen, Coarse geometry and index theory ). Professor Kapranov's lecture was delivered as part of the LMS meeting held within the BMC on Tuesday 26 March.

On the evening of Monday 25 March, a Public Lecture on the Mathematics of Planet Earth was given by John Baez (California, Riverside). In addition to BMC delegates, 203 people registered for this event. Morning lectures were given, in parallel pairs, by Stuart White (Glasgow), Gavin Brown (Loughborough), Zinaida Lykova (Newcastle), Tim Dokchitser (Bristol), June Barrow-Green (Open), Bruno Vallette (Nice, Isaac Newton Institute), Lasse Rempe-Gillen (Liverpool), Konstantin Ardakov (Queen Mary, London), Tom Leinster (Edinburgh), Anthony Dooley (Bath), Tom Bridgeland (Oxford) and Gesine Reinert (Oxford). For one pair, the audience sizes were very unbalanced and, in retrospect, it might have been better not to have conformed to the traditional parallel format throughout the morning sessions.

The Annual General Meeting was held at 11:30 on Wednesday 27 March, immediately followed by a lively Forum on Open Access Publishing, chaired by John Greenlees and featuring a panel consisting of John Baez, Susan Hezlet (LMS), Carmen O'Dell (Univ of Sheffield Library) and Joerg Sixt (Springer). This arrangement worked well in encouraging a strong attendance at the AGM.

Six two-afternoon Workshops were held on 26 March and 27 March. The subject areas and organisers were Category Theory (Eugenia Cheng and Nick Gurski), K-Theory and Analysis (Paul Mitchener), Noncommutative Algebra and Representation Theory (Vladimir Bavula), Number Theory (Tobias Berger and Jayanta Manoharmayum), Probability (Jonathan Jordan and Malwina Luczak) and Topology (David Barnes and Pokman Cheung). A guest Workshop on the History of Mathematics, organised by June Barrow-Green, was held on Wednesday 27 March. Starting times of lectures in these seven workshops were coordinated to facilitate cross-attendance.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded a Workshop on Mathematical Higher Education organised by Camilla Jordan. This took place on Tuesday 26 March. In order to meet HEA guidelines, the format for this workshop differed from the others. Delegates were asked to register in advance and 24 did so. Other delegates attended and audiences for the two discussions were of the order of 30 to 35.

Four Satellite meetings were held. The North British Functional Analysis Seminar met on Saturday 23 March and Sunday 24 March. A joint meeting of the LMS Scheme 3 groups ARTIN and BLOC and a meeting of the LMS Scheme 3 group Non-commutative Geometry, Analysis and Groups were held on Monday 25 March as was the 94th Peripatetic Seminar on Sheaves and Logic.

Wifi services were provided using eduroam and the University of Sheffield guest wifi network.

The BMC worked together with Young Researchers in Mathematics (YRM) to en- courage postgraduate participation and the registration of 70 students was pleasing. An joint grant of £1800.00 was awarded by the LMS and administered by YRM whose meeting took place in Edinburgh in June. As was the case at the 2012 BMC in Kent, original plans for a postgraduate meeting on the Monday were dropped and workshop organisers were encouraged to invite postgraduate speakers.

Financial Report

Income

LMS grant  12000.00
Delegate payments  21202.00
Publishers    2400.00
City University      600.00
Higher Education Academy      750.00
Total   36952.00

Expenditure

Accommodation  6790.00
Conference Dinner  5187.60
Lunches & Refreshments  4212.65
Plenary speakers' travel expenses  3301.43
Morning speakers' expenses  1247.11
Workshop speakers' expenses  6874.78
Hotel rooms for plenary speakers    980.00
Non-speakers' expenses  1416.20
Administrative support  4733.26
Table hire for book displays    300.00
Room hire  1450.00
Brochures and posters    440.00
Name badges      11.52
Total    36952.00


Balance    0.00

The registration fees of LMS officers, together with some meals, were paid by the LMS to the BMC as part of a supplementary grant of £1500.00 to cover the costs of staging an LMS Meeting within the BMC. After payment for these fees and meals, £422.00 remained available but this was neither needed nor claimed.

Notes

  1. Delegate payments included registration fees, accommodation, buffet lunches on the middle two days and the colloquium dinner. The registration fee was £50.00 (postgraduate £35.00), increased to £70.00 (£50.00) for late registra- tion and reduced to £35.00 (£20.00) for partial registration. At a late stage in planning, 65 ensuite rooms in University accommodation became available at £35.00 per night. All these rooms were taken. Buffet lunches cost £7.50 each. The Colloquium Dinner was held at the Crucible Theatre. This was attended by 131 delegates and was subsidised, with £36.00 of the £39.60 cost charged to delegates.

  2. In addition to the LMS, books were displayed by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Springer and the AMS. Taylor and Francis paid for a leaflet to be included in delegates' packs. In accordance with BMC tradition, the payments by CUP and Springer included the cost of the wine reception held on Monday 25 March.

  3. The payment from City University was used to support, partially, the Workshop on Noncommutative Algebra and Representation Theory.

  4. Refreshments include tea and coffee each morning and afternoon and the Wine Reception.

  5. Non-speakers' expenses include those of the Colloquium organisers, Workshop organisers, significant helpers and the Chair of the BMC Scientific Committee.

  6. Our School Administrator was unable to release any of her staff to work on the BMC so we had to buy in administrative support. We were grateful to be able to employ Jo Green who is experienced in conference organisation and who did valuable work for us before, during and after the Colloquium.

  7. In advance of the BMC, the Faculty of Science underwrote the cost of room hire. The cost turned out to be less than anticipated and could be covered by income other than the LMS grant.

David Jordan September 2013