Why attending the NMC is important

The Dutch mathematical community is very diverse, and ranges from rather pure mathematics, concentrating on the basis, to applied mathematics, where applications may be leading but where developing new mathematics is still the driving force. The Dutch Mathematical Congress (NMC) is meant for all mathematicians. And since it is a conference that brings together the different aspects of mathematics, it is also unique. It is a once-in-a-year opportunity to learn about other areas of our discipline, potentially leading to new ideas for our own research, or leading to new collaborations. The NMC offers a much wider view of the discipline than we normally encounter at conferences, and this can be very rewarding.

Besides the more technical content, the NMC is also used to convey information and discuss developments that are important for all of us, such as EWM-NL, SWI, Open Access publishing, and a strategy session. In recent years, Platform Wiskunde Nederland (PWN) has been active in writing vision documents, and these have, with the help of many, resulted in the “Sectorplan Beta & Techniek” which is leading to many new staff positions. The latter is absolutely necessary in view of the low staff/student ratio, caused by the dramatic increase in maths students over the last few years. Everyone will experience the resulting reduction of pressure on existing staff as far as teaching duties are concerned, giving more time for research. Once again this shows the power of acting together, and provides another reason to attend the annual NMC.

A third reason for attending lies in the fact that our colleagues from physics, chemistry and computer science do exactly the same thing, with large numbers of attendees for their annual congresses. See, for example: https://www.nwo.nl/en/newsand-events/events/physicsveldhoven/ to obtain an impression.

The program of NMC 2020 reflects the diversity of our community. Besides the four keynote speakers, the following elements are foreseen:

  1. Sessions by pairs of mathematics clusters, thereby reflecting the tendency of fading boundaries between disciplines as described in the “Sectorbeeld”: DIAMANT & GQT, GQT & NDNS+, NDNS+-STAR and STAR-DIAMANT. 
  2. The winner (to be announced at the NMC) of the N.G. De Bruijn Prize 2019, for the best mathematical scientific work published in refereed journals in recent years, will give a presentation.
  3. This year, the Stieltjes prize winners of 2017 and 2018, for the best PhD thesis in mathematics, will be presenting their work:
    • Jorn van der Pol: Large matroids: enumeration and typical properties (winner 2017)
    • Souvik Dhara: Critical percolation on random networks with prescribed degrees (joint winner 2018)
    • Joost Nuiten: Lie Algebroids in derived differential geometry (joint winner 2018)
  4. The traditional KWG prize competition will be held in a plenary session, to enable everyone to attend this always exciting element of the NMC.
  5. A new competition for Master’s students will take place, initiated by the committee for Innovation of PWN, and sponsored by ING.
  6. The Pythagoras prize will be awarded to the best “profielwerkstuk”.
  7. A dance performance in the evening, inspired by work of D.H. Lehmer. This performance is organized jointly with the NWD conference (“Nationale Wiskunde Dagen”), which was a great success. On the NMC website, an impression can be found  of this unique dance performance, where also the audience will have an active role.
  8. Sessions by the “Zwaartekracht” projects “Networks” and “QSC”.
  9. A session on the history of mathematics.