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We're evaluating the feasibility of sponsoring a member of the math community to speak at a conference in 2011.

Speaking is a relatively big "ask", so this needs to be planned many months in advance. Let's get started!

We'd like the community to establish where ...

What relevant math conferences are coming up in 2011 that have open speaker slots or calls for papers?

... and then who.

Which members of the community are strongly interested in being sponsored by Stack Exchange, Inc to speak at one of the above conferences in 2011?

To be clear, the speaker is free talk about anything he or she wants so long as it would be roughly on topic for this site -- with a quick acknowledgement of support from Stack Exchange and a mention of the community here.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you want people to nominate themselves here and others to discuss the nominations? $\endgroup$ – Alex B. Apr 15 '11 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ @alex as the post says: list possible conferences with open speaker slots or calls for papers, then who. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 15 '11 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ Also, do you mean to sponsor a speaker to talk about anything he or she wants (with possible a quick acknowledgement of support from SE), or do you want to sponsor someone to talk about Math.SE (personal experience, etc.)? $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Apr 15 '11 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ You haven't explained why you are doing this or what you want to accomplish. So in particular when you ask "What relevant math conferences...", I wonder: relevant to what? $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Apr 16 '11 at 8:46
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    $\begingroup$ @pete relevant to the community's interests. We're doing it to promote leadership within the math.se community, and to foster general awareness of math.se. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 16 '11 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ @willie see clarification to the question. Unrelated discussion about comments moved to another meta question. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 17 '11 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ It has come to my attention that this is actually a form letter (e.g. meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1077/… ). The question should be edited to make it clear that this is not a math-specific request, it's just a particular instance of a wider publicity campaign. Without an acknowledgment like that, the question is misleading. This also explains why the question seems to be so much at odds with the actual nature of mathematics conferences. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 18 '11 at 3:04
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    $\begingroup$ @carl it is a math specific request, in that we need your input to make it work. That is in fact the entire point of the question; as a "university administrator" I am neither a physicist, nor biologist, nor cook for that matter -- but the underlying mission of learning and supporting each university department is something we believe deeply in. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 18 '11 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ @carl so if a business has more than 1 customer, it is by definition "tricking" the others? I don't think this is a fair characterization. We encourage individual communities to run with the speaking proposals and tell us what they need; we make that happen, whatever it is. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Apr 18 '11 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ I find the question extremely parallel to the "You have been selected for a special offer" letters I receive in my mailbox, which fail to point out that everyone else was also selected for the same offer. That sort of business tactic is aimed at people who don't realize what's going on; nobody likes to realize they were taken in by it. It looks like the real goal of the question is to get people on math.SE do to the due diligence that SE Inc. should do itself before deciding which fields to try to send someone to a conference. That explains why mathematicians may find the question confusing. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 18 '11 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl: I see absolutely nothing at all in the above anouncement that implies the uniqueness that you read - certainly nothing even remotely analogous to the "special offers" spam that you attempt to compare to. I confess I am quite surprised that some folks are attempting to construe this gracious offer in the most negative light possible. Why not, instead, provide constructive feedback so that the intitiative can be used in the most optimal way in order to help our community prosper - as was no doubt one of the intents of the initiative. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 19 '11 at 3:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: They say "sponsoring a member of the math community" but really mean "sponsoring a member of some SE community". I was confused at first why it seemed SE Inc. had done no background research about math conferences before deciding to give out travel grants. Once I realized they really had done no background research because they sent the same message to many SE sites, it made much more sense: the proposals were just sent blind. Remember that the limited resource here is the time of experts, not money. If SE Inc. wants us to do their work for free they could at least acknowledge it. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 19 '11 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ I do disagree. SE is not a university. Experts here are more like pro bono consultants: you give us use of this site free of charge in exchange for our time and expertise. Not everyone who is willing to answer mathematics questions as a light diversion will be willing to provide free expert consulting on the internal corporate strategy of SE Inc. If you want to get that sort of free consulting, it would be more polite to be explicit about what you're doing. If you're looking for paid expert consulting, I'm sure it would not be difficult to find by emailing members of this site privately. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 19 '11 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl: Do you get funding from grants without writing a proposal? Or do you - as above - expect the funding agency to write the proposal for you? Do you also inquire what other fields of research the agency funds, and complain if it funds nutritional research too? I doubt such a strategy would have any luck winning say an NSF grant. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 19 '11 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for abusing your omnipotence regarding deletion of comments. $\endgroup$ – TonyK Apr 20 '11 at 15:41
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Well, the obvious suggestion for visibility is the annual joint maths meetings of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics; it is held every year in early January, so the next one is January of 2012 (I know you said 2011, but academics like to operate on the academics calendar...)

If you are willing to sponsor somebody, you may consider contacting directly the MAA or the AMS for more than just a contributed report. I don't think the slots for open speakers and contributed papers (which are generally 10 - 15 minutes, sometimes shorter) have enough visibility for it to be worth your while. (This is, however, generally the case in larger, general audience mathematics conferences, that invited talks get 20 minutes to an hour, while contributed talks much shorter.)

An alternative to sponsoring just one speaker, and getting some publicity, is to try to sponsor a special event. Perhaps a "Math.SE meet and greet"?


In general, I think given the scope and stated purpose for Math.SE, the best conferences would be those run by the MAA.

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Just to throw in some ideas about relevancy:

One possible idea is, of course, to see if there are any mathematical results which grew out of a question/answer on Math.SE. I know such has happened for MathOverflow, so it shouldn't be too farfetched that something similar happens here.

Similarly, every now and then there are some questions that brings forth a good illustration of problems in mathematical pedagogy. Those could also be a launching point for a nice talk.

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The AMS Calendar provides a large list of conferences: http://www.ams.org/meetings/calendar/mathcal I am sure others with more experience could point out the best choices.

Here in Canada, the largest conferences are the annual CMS Winter Meeting and CMS Summer Meeting. Also see the main CMS page.

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