Between 10th and 14th July 2017, Alex Mackay and I attended the international annual meeting of SIAM in Pittsburgh, as the representatives for the Cardiff SIAM-IMA student Chapter. The meeting featured diverse and interesting lectures in a multitude of parallel sessions spanning all areas of applied and pure mathematics, physics, engineering, statistics and operational research, reinforcing the message that these fields are intertwined and can and should contribute to each other.
If I had to choose, I have two personal highlights of the trip. The first was a panel discussion with Dr. Christine Darden, a former ‘human computer’ for NASA, featured in the book ‘Hidden Figures’. The story around this book and film is fascinating, and I would recommend both to everyone. The second was a lecture given by Henry Segerman on Visualising Mathematics with 3D Printing, in which he spoke about using 3D printing to aid education. Visualisation of concepts like hyperbolic surfaces and complex geometries is made possible using his designs, and I personally would have loved to have had these resources available as an undergraduate!
On the second day, Alex attended the student breakfast organised for the Chapter representatives. Even though the breakfast started at 7am and there were several bleary-eyed attendees, it was a great experience to share ideas and discuss the rôle of students in enhancing the SIAM community. We intend to implement many of the ideas which arose from the discussions in our institution over the coming months as we continue to grow as a Chapter.
Throughout the conference, we felt valued members of the delegation and I personally feel that the conferences organised by SIAM offer some of the best opportunities for students to attend and contribute. There were many events and social evenings organised, the hospitality of the venue was outstanding and we made great friends and potential future collaboration partners from all over the world. A huge ‘thank you’ is necessary for the administration teams and fellow members of SIAM who organised this this conference and made it such a great success.
All in all, the Pittsburgh experience was great, and it was the perfect setting for an excellent conference. I would highly recommend the city, and of course the next annual meeting of SIAM – to be held in Portland, Oregon next July.
We would like to thank SIAM for providing me with a Travel Award to enable my attendance at this conference, and for providing Alex with the Chapter representative funding. We are extremely grateful for their support in all we do as a Chapter.
Cardiff SIAM Student Chapter President