On Saturday, the delegates to the ICSU in Auckland were supposed to be taken on various sightseeing trips around the city before getting down to serious work the next day. Unfortunately, the weather put paid to most of that: it was no weather for harbour cruises for example. Some gannet-watching was possible, though even this was apparently a bit fraught.
On Saturday night we were invited to a “barbecue” at Gaven and Dianne Martin’s beautiful house at Albany Heights, along with mathematical delegates to the meeting and a few others. The kitchen was large enough that it was not necessary for Gaven to stand in the rain preparing sausages for the assembled company. With plenty of good NZ wine, it was a very pleasant occasion.
At dinner, I talked to John Ball, who is chairing a committee producing a report on bibliometrics, open access, and all that. I was very heartened by his account of what the report is going to say. I will pass on one particularly nice story.
Detailed statistics are available for the football games in the recent World Cup. In one particular match, reported here, the statistics show the teams to be very evenly matched: ball possession 52 to 48, attempts on goal 18 to 14, free kicks 14 to 14, and so on. You might think it was a close and exciting game, until you look at the one statistic that really matters: goals. These were 1 to 7. (The game was Brazil v Germany.)
Statistics for Wiles’ proof of FLT, or Perelman’s proof of the Poincaré conjecture, anyone?