The second day started again with a plenary lecture. This time it was Anke van Zuylen’s turn. Her lecture was titled “Improved tours and paths for the traveling salesman”, and she gave a very nice and complete overview of the developments in this area.
Just like last year, there was room for the presentation of a number of things that are important for all Dutch mathematicians. This time the prominent issues were the “Science and Technology Sector Plan”, as well as the evaluation of the mathematics clusters by an international committee led by Rob Tijdeman. The strategy session was concluded by Vivi Rottschäfer, who shed light on the various activities of the PWN Innovation Committee. Afterwards, Quintijn Puite took the floor to talk about an important event in 2020: the EGMO, or the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad.
After a coffee break there were parallel sessions again at 11.30 am, this time even 5 in total! Again 2 sessions organized by a few clusters, i.e. a session of DIAMANT and STAR on “Stochastics meets Optimization”, and one by GQT and NDNS+ with the title “Geometry and Dynamics”. Also a nice session about the history of mathematics, organized by Gerard Alberts: “History of Differential Geometry”. The two sponsoring gravity projects, “Networks” and “QSC” (“Quantum Software Consortium”), also organised a session.
The afternoon program was for a large part dedicated to winners of the various prizes that Dutch mathematics has become rich. First of all it was the turn of the winners of the Stieltjesprijzen for 2017 and 2018. Also the competition related to the KWG PhD Prize was held. The jury had the afternoon coffee break at their disposal to find a winner.
Parallel to this session the traditional “Teaching Day” took place. This started with a beautiful story by Janine Daems (formerly one of the math girls, together with Ionica Smeets). The audience was given folded leaves with which they had to do all kinds of things, which immediately draws attention. Then it was the turn of members of the PWN Commission on Education, led by Jan Karel Lenstra, who talked about curriculum.nu and about the professional standard for mathematics teachers. The session ended with a number of presentations by the nominees of the Pythagoras Prize for the best profile piece of mathematics, under the inspiring leadership of Derk Pik. One of the nominees was Sièna van Schaick, who recently won a bronze medal at the EGMO 2019 in Kiev.
At 4:30 in the afternoon it was the turn of the last invited speaker, Gabor Lugosi, who gave a lecture entitled “Many questions and a few answers in network archeology”. At 17.30, fairly late in the afternoon, was the very last session in which the prizes were awarded for the KWG PhD Prize, the Stieltjesprijzen 2017 and 2018, and the Pythagoras Prize. Always with a striking and laudatory word from the chairman concerned, and a thunderous applause from the audience that is still present in full numbers.
All in all, we can look back on a very successful NMC, building on the new style introduced in 2018, with a significant number of participants (in view of the May holiday), many overnight stays, new ingredients that were appreciated and also lots of useful and valuable information for mathematicians. The NMC 2020 will be held on 14 and 15 April 2020! Put this in your agenda, and come and see next year, because it’s really worth it!
Text by Wil Schilders, photos by Martijn Anthonissen