Title of Project: Bridges Lecture Series

Year of Competition: 2010

Grant amount: $2100

Project Duration: Single Year

Type of Report: Annual

Period Covered: January 2011 to September 2011

Description of Activity:
The Bridges Lecture Series is composed of four public lectures, each given jointly by a mathematician and a non-mathematician. The first talk, given by Benoit Charbonneau (Math) and Steven Bednarski (History) on September 22 was titled "Getting medieval with Math: Gerbert d'Aurillac and Nicolas Oresme, two beacons of light in the so-called Dark Ages." The rest of the series is advertised on www.sju.ca/bridges.html

Assessment of Effectiveness:
The preparation stage of the series is mostly over. It took longer than anticipated: due to the negotiations for a first collective agreement at St. Jerome's University, it was difficult to convince the non-mathematicians to participate in the January to May period. I therefore had to push the whole series to the Fall. As stated in my proposal, the goal was to attract a mixed crowd of math enthusiasts and people that typically do not care about mathematics. The lecture of September 22 was a success in this respect, with approximately 60 attendees, about half of which do not label themselves as mathematically inclined (math/science/engineering). The experience overall could be deemed a success if the following three event attract a similar crowd. There is however a need to push the publicity campaign a bit further, as I expect we should be able to draw a bigger crowd.

Future Plans (if any):
On October 13, McGee (English) and Hewitt (Math) will deliver a lecture titled "Paradigm Shifts: Brecht and Galileo". On November 3, Seljak (Religion) and Charbonneau (Math) will deliver a lecture titled "Dimensions of Transcendence: Flatland and the Unseen Order". On November 24, Acton (English) and Furino (Math) will deliver a lecture titled "Breaking Code(s):the Invasion of Normandy from Bletchley to the Beaches". A final report will be submitted in December following those events.

The Dean of St. Jerome's university contributed $1500 to the budget for the series, giving a total budget of $3600. I have hired Geai Bleu Graphiques for the graphical design of the posters of the series and adaptation to create eight posters (2 for each event) at a cost of $968.36. The printing of the posters was done by the company Ed Green at a cost of $204.67. These are the only two invoices received and paid so far. Consequently, the other costs are approximative. The cost charged by the University of Waterloo Federation of Students for a poster run of 130 posters through campus is $34 for each event, for a total of $136. The lectures will all be recorded and posted on the website. The hiring of the students that take care of this recording and the editing is approximately $200 for the 4 lectures. The large auditorium at St. Jerome's where the lecture take place has to be set-up for each lecture as this room is also used as a classroom. The hiring of the students that do this conversion will probably cost around $400. I should received soon a bill for the reception that took place after the first lecture. I estimate a total bill of about $400 from Chartwells, the food service that has exclusivity on the St. Jerome's campus. Unless the attendance augments dramatically in the next three talks, I expect the total food budget to be around $1200. More details on my final report.

Contact Name: Benoit Charbonneau

[September 24, 2011]