MATH+ Day 2021 and General Assembly

General Assembly (top), Meetingland Lobby (bottom left), Poster Session (bottom center), Peszyńska Lecture (bottom right)  |  © MATH+


On 05 November, the third MATH+ Day and the General Assembly took place with more than 180 participants. This year, MATH+ wanted to try a new digital concept by using the video-chat-platform Meetingland.


The platform is based on the online conference tool Gather Town that enables realistic interactions with the help of avatars in virtual rooms. Meetingland transformed the MATH+ Day into a virtual networking experience that allows all participants to interact by meetings in the lobby or private rooms, visiting the poster session rooms, or attending lectures.


However, for the large MATH+ audience, the start and end of the MATH+ Day were arranged traditionally with zoom. The General Assembly was opened by MATH+ Chair Christof Schütte, Freie Universität Berlin and President of the Zuse Institute. He reported about last year’s MATH+ activities, calls, funding, and outreach projects.


Afterwards, all members entered the MATH+ Day at Meetingland. Three parallel poster sessions were available to get information on the current research projects in the Applications Areas, the Emerging Fields, and the Transfer Unit. The projects show the diversity of topics and the various activities of so many interdisciplinary and trans-institutional collaborations. Mathematicians work together with colleagues from the life sciences, transport and network disciplines, material sciences, and humanities and social sciences.


In-between, the MATH+ member joined the lecture and report from the sociological project “MATH+ as a research project” that studies MATH+ as an arena for career decisions and the academic selection and watched the brand-new MATH+ film in the cinema. At information booths, they met the scientists in charge of the Research Data Management, the Thematic Einstein Semesters, the sociological project “MATH+ as a Research Object,” and the staff of the MATH+ Office.


The MATH+ Day concluded with a special guest lecture from Małgorzata Peszyńska of Oregon State University – a Polish-American applied mathematician – who joined online. She talked about „The hardest subject in Mathematics” – focusing on women’s problematic career chances and obstacles in math. She discussed inequality and how to support equality as regards gender and other aspects in which mathematicians differ. Małgorzata Peszyńska stressed that it is essential that in-groups be willing to change and help the mentoring of junior faculty. A lively discussion followed the talk.


Considering the feedback, the MATH+ Day 2021 was a great success by using the virtual video-chat-platform Meetingland. Everything went well, and the participants enjoyed exchanging ideas and comments in a more vivid and personal interaction.