Taylor Series or Taylor Swift

Cover Article
December 2023 TOC icon
Cover Article
December 2023 (Vol. 55, No. 6)

As I look back on the past twelve months, I find myself immersed in a tapestry of achievements, challenges, and invaluable experiences. Amidst the ever-changing landscape of education and outreach, I feel satisfied with the strides the Society has taken and are continuing to take. This year again, the CMS hosted and took part in successful competitions (including our newly launched Canada Lynx Mathematical Competition), we held productive and collaborative meetings (including a new online meeting), and we offered memorable camps, amongst many endeavours.

For the second year running, we were able to hold our Summer and Winter Meetings in person. For us at the CMS Executive Office, being in Ottawa for the Summer Meeting posed an added challenge: we had to juggle our family lives at home and host the meeting for long hours. Nevertheless, the Summer Meeting was a real success, in part thanks to our Scientific Directors Dr. Monica Nevins (University of Ottawa) and Dr. Aaron Tikuisis (University of Ottawa). We hosted a record number of attendees for an in-person Summer Meeting, 40 sessions were offered, as well as a public lecture in a full room.

What’s more, at the end of November, our newly formed Education Meeting Committee hosted a new online meeting, the CMS Education Meeting, which was established with the purpose of complementing in-person math education sessions at both of our yearly meetings.

As I write these lines, I am looking forward to traveling to Montréal for our Winter Meeting! Our Scientific Directors (Dr. François Bergeron, UQAM; Dr. Simone Brugiapaglia, Concordia and Dr. Alina Stancu, Concordia) have prepared a high-quality program featuring 30 sessions, 4 mini-courses, and a workshop.

On a different note, we are now looking for new dates for our 2024 Winter Meeting, as Taylor Swift has just announced new concert dates in Vancouver that will take place at the same time as the meeting, in the same city, and even in the same neighborhood. Although I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, I already know which of the two events I’ll be attending (hint: it’s the one where tickets don’t cost thousands of dollars!). Make sure to keep an eye out for updates on this situation, including possible new dates for the meeting.

Mathematical Functions for Taylor Swift by Anthony Bonato posted on X

This year has been a great one for competitions.

At EGMO, all members of the Canadian girls’ math team won medals. History was also made when the CMS sent the first ever transgender contestant to EGMO; we continue to work towards addressing the social and economic hurdles that hinder the participation of students from under-represented groups in advanced mathematics and STEM programs

At IMO, I was very proud to see Math Team Canada rank 5th out of 112 participating countries, which tied our best result ever.

Then, in the fall, we launched a new competition, the Canada Lynx Mathematics Competition (CLMC), which was created to reflect our values at CMS of making mathematics more inclusive and accessible to all. In fact, the CLMC is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12 and aims to spark students’ interest in mathematics, regardless of their skill level, to increase students’ confidence in their mathematical abilities, and to present mathematics as a fun and playful subject to students. For its first edition, the CLMC attracted nearly 2,250 participants, a number we can be very proud of, given the limited publicity we had time to do prior to the competition.

As the competition season is wrapping up, I look forward to finding out the results of COMC and CJMC and to congratulating the winners. For the time being, I am happy to report that COMC had a record year in terms of participation, with nearly 7,000 students participating from over 25 countries worldwide.

In 2023, with the lifting of most pandemic-related restrictions, many Math Camps resumed operation in-person. We were able to organize 19 camps, including 14 Regional Camps. This enabled us to reach more young mathematical minds across the country, and we hope to continue expanding our activities in the years to come.

We were also very proud to host a new day camp in Ottawa, the CMS Summer Math Camp, where any youth interested in mathematics could join us without having received an invitation. Once again, in line with our CMS values of inclusion and accessibility, this camp gave everyone a fair chance to discover mathematics in a fun way. This is certainly another initiative we hope to repeat in the future.

Based on communications with past, present, and potential organizers, it is expected that 2024 will be a record year for the number of CMS Math Camps organized across Canada.

I am also delighted to announce that we have very recently renewed our partnership with Cambridge University Press, thanks to the many efforts of our colleagues Dr. David Pike, Dr. Javad Mashreghi, Dr. Patrick Ingram, and Dr. Barbarba Csima.

2023 was a year of new beginnings and new initiatives. None of this would have been possible without the amazing staff of the CMS Executive Office. Julia, Maria, Stephanie, Steve, Sarah, Trevor and Xinxin, your hard work and dedication are very important and appreciated. Last but by no means least, I’d like to thank Yvette and wish her all the best in her retirement. Yvette originally retired this summer, but she has agreed to stay with us and help out until the end of the year. Yvette, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for CMS. Your departure will be deeply felt, but I am truly grateful for all the knowledge and experience you have shared with us. I am very excited for Stephanie take over for Yvette, and I am confident she will excel in this role (as she already has been).

To finish, I also would like to thank the members of the Executive Directors, Board of Directors, the members of the Committees and Editorial Boards, as well as all the CMS members for their continued support of the CMS. The trust you place in us is so valuable, and the Society would not be able to do all it does without your ongoing cooperation.

In 2023, my heart was broken more than once as a result of the many devastating events that took place throughout the world. My sincerest wishes for 2024 are that empathy, love, camaraderie, open-mindedness and, above all, peace, reign in the world.

I would like to finish this article with a quote from a famous Iranian poet Saudi Shirazi (13th century).

“Human being are members of a whole,
  In creation of one essence and soul.
  If one member is afflicted with pain,
  Other members uneasy will remain.
  If you’ve no sympathy for human pain,
  The name of human you cannot retain!”

بنی آدم اعضای یکدیگرند، که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار، دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی، نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

Email the author: tkousha@cms.math.ca
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