Impression day 1

Over 200 participants at the opening of the NMC 2019

From 9 a.m. the first participants started to arrive. The opening was provided by 3 speakers: Jan Wiegerinck, chairman of the Royal Mathematical Society, officially opened the congress, followed by fine words by Bas Zwaan, portfolio holder of mathematics on the board of the domain Exact and Natural Sciences (ENW) of NWO. He indicated that the Domain Board attaches great importance to high-level national conferences for all disciplines in the domain of ENW, and that the Board therefore wholeheartedly supports the renewal of the NMC. Janne Brok, director of Sioux LIME (Laboratory for Industrial Mathematics Eindhoven) concluded this part by giving a fascinating impression of what they can do with mathematics for their clients. 

Then it was the turn of the first keynote, Jan Hesthaven of EPFL, who spoke about “Structure preserving reduced order models”. He gave a nice overview of what reduced models are all used for, by presenting the work of employees in his group. 

PWN Innovation Award

Immediately after noon, the first parallel sessions started, which were well attended: a session organized by the mathematical clusters DIAMANT and GQT on “Arithmetic and Geometry” and a session organized by NDNS+ and STAR on “Numerics meets Statistics”. Both sessions emphasized the blurring of the boundaries between disciplines and clusters, in line with what was argued in the “Sector View” published last year. There was also a well-attended session of 4TU.AMI on “Mathematical Aspects of Machine Learning”, also in line with the new research positions proposed in the Beta Sector Plan

In the coffee break after the parallel sessions the nominations for the new MSc prize of the PWN Innovation Committee took place. Three nominees were selected from the entries, and they gave a short lecture on various topics: The award ceremony was to take place the same afternoon, so that the jury only had a short time to reflect. In the end, Tineke School, which received the 1000 Euro prize, was chosen, as well as the congratulations of Vivi Rottschäfer, chairman of the Innovation Committee. 

Dion Gijswijt

At 15.30 it was time for the “De Bruijn lecture”, where Jan van Neerven gave a nice laudatio for Dion Gijswijt, who then gave a wonderful lecture on his award-winning article “On large subsets of FQN with no three-term arithmetic progression”. The article deserved the award, especially because it generated a lot of attention among mathematicians, but also among jouurnalists and the general public. 

After a short break the last plenary lecture of the day by Barbara Gentz of the University of Bielefeld on “Noise in coupled dynamics – friend or foe” followed. 

The last plenary lecture certainly did not mean the end of the first day of the congress. From 18.00-19.00 hours the speed dating with the industry took place, for which this time 7 companies were selected: ABN AMRO, ASML, Compumatica, Optiver, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Sioux LIME (director Janne Brok was involved in the opening of NMC 2019) and VORtech. At the same time there was also a session of the Dutch task of European Women in Mathematics, where the two female invited speakers were present.

Dance performance

About 170 participants, including people from the speed dating companies, enjoyed a served 3-course dinner. An excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with all kinds of colleagues, to discuss the first congress day, or to do business. The after – dinner – event was a “lecture performance” including dance, inspired by the so-called “spurs” of Lehmer. Tom Verhoeff (TU/e, Mathematics and Computer Science) and choreographer Roos van Berkel were the inventors of this exciting performance, which was widely appreciated.

Discussions about the performance, as well as about many other matters, mathematics as well as world problems and the “personal touch”, happened in the cozy “Abbey bar”, where the Trappist beer tasted good to many and it became quite late before the last participants left …………………………. 

Text by Wil Schilders, photos by Martijn Anthonissen