Speech by Grant Walker


I should like to make a few remarks at the end of this 50th annual meeting of the BMC. I should like to say something about its past, something about its present, and something about its future.

Past: history on the Springer bags, reminds us of the wider community that supports mathematics and is supported by it. The early days: a leading position of the Manchester department under Max Newman. We no longer occupy that leading position, no false modesty or belittlement of colleagues' achievements, but rejoice that strength is spread across many universities. Manchester department is honoured that the BMC has wished to hold its 50th meeting here, as it did 25th: I am honoured to have served as its secretary for the past year.

Mention members present at early meetings: Rees, Preston ... . Mention Erdös.

Present: problems aired at AGM. General meetings lose out to specialist research meetings. Attendance only 200 against over 500 at 25th BMC. Threats to vitality of mathematics worldwide: Arnol'd, Donne. Essential for us that leading mathematicians such as our principal speakers give their time to attend the general meetings. Thanks to the overseas speakers: Woodin, Boffa, (Kechris), Uhlenbeck, Lai-Sang Young, Yoccoz, Connes. Thanks to sponsors: publishers, Prudential Assurance, J Sharkey. Thanks to LMS and EMS. Organisation: Scientific Committee.

Future: discussion at AGM about relation with BAMC. I propose to breach the charming tradition of not revealing venue for next meeting until a year after
invitation has been accepted by Scientific Committee. In principle it is intended that The BMC will meet at Warwick in 2002, and that this meeting will reflect view of Warwick mathematics that pure and applied mathematics belong under the same roof. This is the forward looking attitude we need if there is ever to be a 100th BMC, rather than a video conference.

Conclude with thanks to Connes and all speakers.