Committee Meeting Minutes for 1993

The Committee met in Childs Hall, University of Reading, at 8.05 p.m. on 30th March 1993.
  1. The members present were D.A. Brannan (Open), F.T. Brawn (Cardiff), D.J. Collins (QMW), P.A.K. Covey-Crump (GCHQ), A. Gardiner (Birmingham), A.J.W. Hilton Reading), A.C. McBride Strathclyde), P.E. Newstead (Liverpool), J.R. Ringrose Newcastle), P. Rowlinson (Stirling), D.L. Salinger (Leeds), R.J. Steiner (Glasgow), D.S.G. Stirling (Reading), D.A.R. Wallace (Strathclyde), M.A. Youngson (Heriot-Watt).
  2. The minutes of the last meeting (7th April 1992, at Strathclyde) were approved.
  3. Matters arising from the minutes
    • Publishers' lists: no publishers had asked for addresses.
    • Archives: these were now held by the LMS.
    • Fees policy: the policy of not charging registration fees to invited speakers had been implemented. There was a discussion as to whether charging for accommodation on registration was a disincentive to potential members, but it was decided to continue the current practice.
    • Venues: Crispin Nash-Williams had written to Warwick about the 1997 Colloquium but the answer was not known as he (CN-W) was in the USA. [Added subsequently: There was no reply - DSGS]
    • If Warwick say "no", we should try Royal Holloway and Southampton, in that order.
      [ACTION: Warwick: Reading Others : Cardiff]
      • 28th-31st March, 1994, Cardiff,
      • 3rd-6th April, 1995, Heriot-Watt,
      • 9th-13th April, 1996, UMIST.
    • Guidelines for speakers: these have not been issued but the invitation letter spelled out what was required. Tony Gardiner remarked that this seemed to have been effective.
  4. Format of the Colloquium
    The numbers this year were (roughly) 130 compared with 180 in 1992 and 220 in 1991. We need to consider the decline.

    After some discussion it was agreed that while specialist conferences were not the whole of the problem, they were a significant part of it. We should add some specialist emphasis. It was noticed that the BAMC model, which had specialist sessions, was more successful.

    There was much discussion and in the end it was decided that we should choose, say, three topics per Colloquium, appoint a prominent person in each field to select speakers for the topic and get a good programme for the subject. The format of the specialist sessions should be determined, within very broad outlines, by the leaders, who should be given a budget to enable them to attract suitable speakers.

    The specialist sessions should run in parallel with the "normal" programme (and perhaps with each other) from coffee time until just before the evening lecture.

    The "general" programme should be altered to begin with one of the evening talks on the Monday evening (8pm-9pm) and to finish at lunch time on the Thursday. This would not prevent a specialist session using Thursday afternoon.
    Cardiff, 1994
    The specialist topics and suggested leaders were:
    • Number Theory (John Coates or Roger Heath-Brown)
    • Differential Topology/Singularities (Bill Burns or [ask Terry Wall for fall-back])
    • Groups and Combinatorics (Rosemary Bailey, Peter Neumann or Norman Biggs)
    (RESERVE: Functional Analysis (Barry Johnson or Chris Lance)

    Cardiff to approach the leaders and give them details of the available time and when they have to produce the list of speakers.

    The leaders should be asked to get three or four speakers: the rest is up to them.

    There would be a budget of £1000 for each topic; we have the reserves (and hope this "pump-priming" will be effective). We should apply to the LMS for assistance of £1000.

    Cardiff should sketch out a broad outline, circulate it to the Committee for comments, and then devolve the matters to the specialist groups to organise.

    As this is a major reorganisation Cardiff will need help. David Brannan, Tony Gardiner and David Salinger agreed to act as an advisory committee, giving assistance as required.

    Longer-Term issues
    It was agreed that we should consider, for the longer term, the idea of a "scientific committee". In the meantime we should put an article in the LMS Newsletter outlining the addition to the traditional programme, and the longer-term outlook. This would also be an opportunity to advertise the dates and places of future Colloquia and to ask for suggestions.

    A small sub-committee (Adam McBride, Peter Newstead and John Ringrose) was set up to consider the long-term situation.

    Once we know the position about the 1997 Colloquium we should write to all Mathematics departments and other institutions likely to be interested, informing them of the changes in style and the dates of future colloquia. The topics of the 1994 special sessions should be given when known.

    It was agreed that we should inform members of the 1993 Colloquium of the future changes.
    [Done on 1st April].

    For future Colloquia there should be evening sessions (e.g. on political issues), which should be named in appropriate detail in the advance publicity. This should, where possible, name those involved and the subject of the main talks.
  5. Cardiff 1994
    Trevor Brawn reported that University College, Cardiff, had cancelled the booking we had made for 1994, because of the refusal of a fire certificate. He had, instead, booked accommodation in Cardiff Institute of Higher Education. The Committee congratulated him on coping with this difficult situation.

    Evening Speakers: Richard Askey had accepted, H. Montgomery had accepted verbally but not yet in writing and a reply was awaited from L. Valiant. (Birman and Neubuser had declined the invitation.)

    It was agreed that there could be some overlap between the evening speakers and the specialist groups.
  6. Future Speakers
    There was discussion of the lists of potential speakers and several were added to the list of morning speakers. The problem of the shortage of women speakers was recognised.

    For the Heriot-Watt 1995 Colloquium, it was agreed that Heriot-Watt should consult the advisory committee once the specialist topics for Cardiff were known, and then Heriot-Watt should arrange the specialist topics for 1995.

    There would be one topic left unused of the four chosen for Cardiff. Others agreed as possible were (with possible leaders):
    Computer Algebra (M. Atkinson, J. Davenport)
    Ring Theory (K. Brown, J.C. Robson)
    Low-dimensional Topology (R. Brown, R. Fenn)
    Analysis (D.J.H. Garling, H.G. Dales)
    Pure Differential Equations.

    Suggestions from the committee could be sought by post or e-mail.
The meeting closed at 10.47 p.m.