Joint Mathematics Meeting (January 4-7)

Boston: The City That Never Sleeps

Joint Mathematics Meeting (January 4-7)

William Du, Science & Tech Editor

As I packed my bags and prepared to head to the annual math conference in Boston, MA, I couldn’t shake the nervous excitement that had been building inside me for weeks. As a math enthusiast, I relish the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the brightest minds in the field and hear about the latest research. But let’s be real: conferences can be exhausting, and navigating a new city like Bostoncan be overwhelming.

As I made my way to the Boston Mariott Hotel, my thoughts were interrupted by the vibrant colors and vital energy that seemed to permeate every corner of Boston. I couldn’t help but be charmed by the lively atmosphere and flashing lights of the city, and by the time I arrived at the hotel, I was already feeling a sense of belonging in this strange place.

The conference itself was a blur of lectures, panel discussions, and networking events, but there were a few standout moments that I’ll never forget. One of these was the Jane Street Guestimathon, where a couple of friends and I attempted to estimate various values, from the number of three-letter words to the geometric mean of the first 100 Fibonacci numbers. The conglomerate of niche knowledge and gigantic numbers felt like chaos, but when the smoke cleared, we’d managed to place 5th in a room of math professors and college undergraduate students.

Another conference highlight was presenting my research in the undergraduate poster session. I was nervous as I stood in front of my poster, answering questions and discussing my work with professors and researchers worldwide. But as the hours passed and more people stopped by to chat, I began to feel more and more at ease, and by the end of the session, I had made several valuable connections and received some invaluable feedback.

It wasn’t all work and no play at the conference however. In the evenings, lights lit up the dance floor and institutions that defined my math experience set up stands with puzzles, games, and free trinkets. I found myself surfing the nearby mall with a group of friends, taking in the sights and sounds of this strange and wonderful area.

As the events at the John B. Hynes Veterans memorial Convention Center ended and I headed back home, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to experience such a vibrant and welcoming city. I met some truly inspiring people, learned a great deal, and had more fun than I could have imagined.  And who knows, maybe I’ll be back next year for more math (and food!).