Scientific Committee Meeting Minutes: April 2003

Minutes of the Scientific Committee Meeting held at Chamberlain Hall, University of Birmingham, on 8 April 2003 at 8.10 pm.

H Garth Dales (Chairman), Rob Curtis and Chris Parker (Birmingham), David Armitage and Martin Mathieu (Belfast), Hugh Morton (Liverpool), Ken Brown, John Greenlees and Helen Robinson (LMS), Graham Jameson and Michael Weiss (EdMS), William Crawley-Boevey (elected at AGM)

Peter Giblin (Liverpool)

  1. The Chairman welcomed members to the meeting. A list of members of the Scientific Committee was tabled. A correction was noted: for the Belfast BMC, M Mathieu is the Chairman and D Armitage the Secretary. K Brown (LMS) and M Weiss (EMS) will retire and replacements will be needed.

  2. The minutes of the meeting of 14 October 2002 were agreed.

  3. It was agreed that, exceptionally, the next meeting will be held at De Morgan House on Thursday 15 January 2004, starting at about 10.30 or 11.00 am. It was noted that, because the LMS, which funds the meeting, is a charity, discounted fares may be available on Virgin Trains.
    [The actual date of the meeting will be 22 January 2004.]

  4. H G Dales proposed to the AGM certain amendments to the Constitution. The amendments defined the starting and ending dates for the periods of service of various categories of member on the Scientific Committee. The amendments were agreed by the AGM. The Scientific Committee took note of questions raised at the AGM concerning (i) election to the Scientific Committee from the floor of the AGM; (ii) the accounts for the Warwick B(A)MC of 2002; (iii) fees for postgraduates attending BMCS. It was agreed that a membership list of the Scientific Committee will be provided for AGMS. The Warwick accounts are not yet audited. The question of fees for postgraduates will be discussed at the next meeting of the Scientific Committee.

  5. A Memorandum between the Scientific Committee of the British
    Mathematical Colloquium and the London Mathematical Society
    , dated 19 March 2003, was tabled.

    The memorandum is available at THIS LINK

    The Memorandum, which has been discussed with the LMS, describes the nature of the BMC, its organisational structure, and its relationship to the LMS. In particular, it states that the LMS wishes to offer its general support to the BMC and sets out arrangements and conditions for the provision of financial support for the BMC by the LMS.

    Though the Memorandum was welcomed, it appears to create or, at least, aggravate a difficulty: in recognizing the BMC as "an organisation that arranges meetings ..." it undermines the BMC's claim that it is reincarnated annually. As a permanent organisation the BMC would become liable for VAT. The alternatives, if VAT is to be avoided, are for the BMC to seek charitable status or to become demonstrably impermanent. Expert legal advice will be needed. Any member with a suggestion for obtaining such advice inexpensively is asked to notify the Chairman. The matter will be further discussed at the meeting in January 2004.

  6. A letter of invitation was received for the 2006 BMC to be held at the University of Newcastle on 3-6 April. It was agreed that the offer should be accepted, and the Chairman will write to Newcastle accordingly. His letter will tactfully indicate the Scientific Committee's constitutional role in guiding decisions about speakers and special sessions.

  7. Suggestions for venues for the BMCs of 2007 and 2008 should be e-mailed to the Chairman. The 2007 meeting is intended to take the traditional form, and it is tentatively suggested that the 2008 meeting might be held jointly with the BAMC. A venue in the south of England would be favoured for the 2007 meeting, but there was concern that expenses might be prohibitive in or near London. The Chairman will approach one of the London Colleges to seek estimates of costs for a 2007 BMC in London.

  8. Hugh Morton reported on preparations for the joint B(A)MC meeting to be held at the University of Liverpool in 2005. The meeting will run from Monday to Thursday (4-7 April) with Pure and Applied Mathematics sessions running in parallel throughout. Bookings for halls of residence have been made. Some plenary speakers have been invited and some have already accepted. Special session topics have yet to be decided. Fairly definite plans and lists of prospective speakers will be brought to the meeting in January 2004.

  9. Martin Mathieu reported on preparations for the joint meeting of the BMC and Irish Mathematical Society (IMS) to be held at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) on 5-8 April 2004. The IMS is content for M Mathieu and D Armitage to represent its interests in proposing possible speakers.

    The LMS has agreed to grant £9000; of this £8000 is to fund overseas speakers and £1000 is for support of postgraduate students. The IMS has agreed to contribute 2000 Euro (c. £1350). The EDMS has not yet been approached but will be shortly. Informal negotiations with publishers have begun. Provisional bookings of lecture theatres and smaller rooms have been made; the estimated cost of these (depending on eventual requirements) is £3000-£4000. Thanks largely to H G Dales's intervention, the QUB Faculty of Science & Agriculture will grant a £1500 subsidy.

    Rooms have been booked in the Halls of Residence of Stranmillis University College, a Teacher Training College associated to QUB. (The QUB Halls are being rebuilt, and satisfactory accommodation there cannot be guaranteed.) The Stranmillis rooms are basic and cheap, c. £20 per night for B&B. Stranmillis is about 25 minutes' walk from the OUB Main Site, where lectures will take place; a public bus service has stops near Stranmillis and the QUB Main Site.

    Five plenary speakers have agreed to attend: Kechris, Pisier, Procesi, Zelmanov, and Ziegler. The special session topics are Combinatorics and Non-commutative Functional Analysis, and speakers for these sessions have been arranged. A list of possible morning speakers was tabled. Several additions and amendments were suggested. A revised, partly ranked, list is attached; the local organisers will issue invitations based on this list. It is proposed to have a one-hour lecture (effectively a plenary lecture) on some application of mathematics: Financial Mathematics was thought to be a good choice, and the local organisers were recommended to seek advice from Terry Lyons on possible speakers.

    The BMC/IMS meeting will be preceded on Monday 5 April by a meeting of the North British Functional Analysis Seminar (11.30 - 15.00) and a Student Conference (10.00 - 15.00).

  10. The LMS will act as archivist of the BMC. The Chairman asked for help in reconstruction of records. In particular, members may be able to add more names to the list of morning speakers, 1985-2000, or supply the affiliations (at the relevant time) of speakers already on the list.

Minutes signed by David Armitage on 17 April 2003.

A schedule of further BMC meetings is available at THIS LINK