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Celebratio Mathematica

Paul T. Bateman

Number theory  ·  UIUC

Service to the American Mathematical Society

by Robert M. Fossum

Paul Bate­man de­voted a large part of his math­em­at­ic­al life to the AMS. The first re­cor­ded in­stance of his ser­vice to the So­ci­ety, found in Ever­ett Pitch­er’s ex­cel­lent his­tory [e1], is as a mem­ber of the or­gan­iz­ing com­mit­tee of the Num­ber The­ory Sum­mer In­sti­tute held at the Uni­versity of Col­or­ado in 1959.

Bate­man was ap­poin­ted to sev­er­al oth­er AMS po­s­i­tions, in­clud­ing the or­gan­iz­ing com­mit­tee for the Sum­mer In­sti­tute on Num­ber The­ory held at SUNY at Stony Brook in 1969. These sum­mer in­sti­tutes were re­search con­fer­ences de­veloped by the AMS Coun­cil, and were in­flu­en­tial in the de­vel­op­ment of num­ber the­ory. Bate­man also served on the or­gan­iz­ing com­mit­tee of the 1974 sym­posi­um “Math­em­at­ic­al de­vel­op­ments arising from the Hil­bert Prob­lems,” held at North­ern Illinois Uni­versity, and he was a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee that se­lec­ted Berke­ley, Cali­for­nia, as the site for the 1986 In­ter­na­tion­al Con­gress of Math­em­aticians.

Bate­man began his par­ti­cip­a­tion in the gov­ernance of the AMS when he joined the Coun­cil as an elec­ted mem­ber-at-large for the peri­od 1961–63. He was then elec­ted as an as­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ary of its West-Cent­ral Sec­tion, be­gin­ning in 1967 and con­tinu­ing for 15 years. There are four sec­tions of the So­ci­ety, each with an as­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ary who man­ages the two meet­ings a year in that sec­tion. Re­spons­ib­il­it­ies of the po­s­i­tion in­clude loc­at­ing a meet­ing site, find­ing loc­al people to help with the or­gan­iz­a­tion, and see­ing that speak­ers have been se­lec­ted for the meet­ing.

This po­s­i­tion is very time-con­sum­ing and the work of­ten in­tense, with little help from the So­ci­ety’s Provid­ence of­fice. As­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ar­ies had full AMS Coun­cil mem­ber­ship dur­ing Bate­man’s time in of­fice. In ad­di­tion, they, to­geth­er with the sec­ret­ary, com­prised the ed­it­or­i­al com­mit­tee of the So­ci­ety’s Ab­stracts journ­al. Also, each as­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ary is re­spons­ible, on a ro­tat­ing basis, for the or­gan­iz­a­tion of the pro­gram for the an­nu­al meet­ing. Bate­man did an ex­cel­lent job as as­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ary.

Bate­man was elec­ted to the So­ci­ety’s Board of Trust­ees and served from Janu­ary 1971 to Decem­ber 1975. Then, he was ap­poin­ted to the Math­em­at­ic­al Re­views Ed­it­or­i­al Com­mit­tee, serving from Janu­ary 1977 to Decem­ber 1982.

Fi­nally, from Feb­ru­ary 1993 un­til Janu­ary 1994 he served to­geth­er with sev­er­al oth­ers, in­clud­ing me, plan­ning spe­cial events for the An­nu­al Meet­ing in Janu­ary 1994, which had been care­fully cal­cu­lated as the 100th an­nu­al meet­ing of the So­ci­ety. The cel­eb­ra­tion was a great event [e2].

Bate­man served the So­ci­ety dur­ing dif­fi­cult times; it was mov­ing in­to the di­git­al era, and there was much con­cern about the costs, par­tic­u­larly for the Math Re­views. Bate­man was at­tuned to all of the prob­lems, and he helped de­vel­op solu­tions. His ser­vice was valu­able to the So­ci­ety and to the en­tire math­em­at­ic­al com­munity.

As a per­son­al foot­note, at the time Bate­man was re­lin­quish­ing his po­s­i­tion as as­so­ci­ate sec­ret­ary, he asked me if I would be will­ing to run for the po­s­i­tion. I did not hes­it­ate to do so. I served in that po­s­i­tion from 1983 un­til I was “el­ev­ated” to the sec­ret­ary po­s­i­tion. So I have Paul Bate­man to thank for ment­or­ing me and mak­ing it pos­sible to serve the math­em­at­ic­al com­munity.