What’s the best way to start the annual SACNAS National Conference? With a little math, of course! That is, math sponsored by the Math Institutes (you know who they are, right?). This has been the trend in recent years, and this year was no different. Today, students and postdocs attending the 2012 Modern Math Workshop (MMW) at the convention center in Seattle were treated to a really, really nice mix of talks* (titles are here) spanning a broad range of mathematical topics and scientific applications.

There was also a huge added bonus: they were given a guided tour of the world class research opportunities these institutes provide to students and researchers in the mathematical sciences community. Add to that a preview of the events taking place as part of the international effort to dedicate 2013 as a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth? Yup, that too.

So, what exactly is the MMW, and who are these “Math Institutes”?

The Math Institutes are the 8+ NSF funded mathematics research institutes in the U.S. Each year they send representatives to the MMW at SACNAS to share a little about what they do and what’s going on in the world of applied mathematics. This year, the MMW talks touched on a really nice spread of mathematical applications in various scientific fields, and really drove home the points that 1) basically all areas of mathematics have really useful applications, and 2) modern mathematics is being heavily influenced by advances in the biological sciences and computation.

Each institute introduced the audience to what they do, how they operate, and most importantly, the opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, professors and researchers in the mathematical sciences community. I plan to write a post or two on what each of the institutes has to offer, but for now, here’s a quick rundown of names and websites:

**ICERM**: Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics
*Location*: Brown University, Providence, RI.

**AIM**: American Institute of Mathematics
**NIMBioS**: National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.
- nimbios.org
*Location*: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.

**MBI:**Mathematical Biosciences Institute
- mbi.osu.edu
*Location*: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

**MSRI**: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
**IMA**: Institute for Mathematics and it’s Applications
- Location: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

**SAMSI**: Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute
*Location*: Research Triangle, NC

**IPAM**: Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics
**IAS**: Institute for Advanced Study

**Yes, I was one of the speakers, but they really were excellent talks!*