Wave of the future and it is good for mathematics
I was working in the food court area tonight at MAA MathFest in Columbus OH and the huge area was silent. No doubt because others were not redoing their presentations for tomorrow as I was, but rather were out enjoying Columbus with mathematics friends. Suddenly from the various entries to the area students in small groups began to enter, more came, many more came in. They were energized, they were talking mathematics, waving their hands about geometric issue. They just kept coming and coming, both young men and many young women.
What was happening? Where were they going? I stopped wondering and said to myself, "This is the wave of the future; young mathematics students on the move." Well, I got up to see they were going through a wide corridor leading to a ballroom in the hotel where there was an ice cream social! I watched them discretely and even while eating ice cream they were talking mathematics; not Pokemon, not Facebook, not rock groups, not fashion, but mathematics. I felt a wonderful sense of joy in this wave, in this energy. You do not get to experience our young mathematics students in this way and I felt I was privileged.
So whenever I get worried about the future of mathematics I can think of this wave of energetic, enthusiastic, communicating, and hungry (not just for ice cream) but for mathematics young folks, and I can know mathematics is in good hands with these terrific young people.