IMU-Net 2: November 2003
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IMU-Net 2: November 2003

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, Universit&eacute René Descartes, Paris, France



  1. Letter from the President
  2. ICM 2006: preregistration is open
  3. Andrey Andreevich Bolibruch
  4. Personal homepages and an electronic version of the World Directory of Mathematicians
  5. Mathematics Journals Prices
  6. World Year of Physics 2005
  7. Subscribing to IMU-Net


Dear Reader,

Welcome to the second issue of IMU-Net, the electronic newsletter of the 
International Mathematical Union.

IMU is very pleased with the positive reaction to the first issue, and 
that a large number of mathematicians have chosen to subscribe to IMU-Net. 
This is the last issue to be sent to the current mailing list.
So if you wish to receive further issues, which are free of charge, and 
if you have not already subscribed, you must do so by one of the methods 
described below.

IMU represents you. IMU-Net is designed to make that representation more 
effective, by informing you about what IMU is doing on your behalf, and 
providing information about current initiatives that will enable you in 
turn to influence IMU.

I very much hope that you will become a regular reader.

John Ball
President, International Mathematical Union.

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The next International Congress of Mathematicians, ICM2006, will be 
held at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid (Madrid City 
Hall Convention Center) Madrid, Spain, 22-30 August 2006.

Preregistration is open at:

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IMU is deeply saddened by the death on 11 November 2003 of Academician 
Andrey Andreevich Bolibruch, of the Steklov Institute (Moscow, Russia), 
who was a member of the IMU Executive Committee

Academician D. Anosov writes:

Andrey Andreevich Bolibruch was born in Moscow on 30 January 1950. He
graduated from the Moscow State University in 1975. Since 1990 his main 
workplace has been the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the Russian 
Academy of Sciences in Moscow; but from 1996 he was also a Professor in 
the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics of Moscow State University, 
and in 1999 he became an Honorary Professor there.

A crucial moment in his mathematical career came at the end of the 80's, 
when he discovered that Hilbert's 21st problem (concerning a certain 
class of linear ordinary differential equations in the complex domain) 
generally has a negative solution. This was an unexpected and brilliant 
achievement. For a long time people were convinced that at the beginning 
of the 20th century Plemelj had obtained a positive solution to this 
problem by reducing it to another of his results. Several years before 
Bolibruch's proof, it was discovered that, although this other result 
is correct, the reduction does not always work. However, people continued 
to hope that the answer to the 21st problem was positive. Thus Bolibruch's 
result was unexpected and made a strong impression.

After this, Bolibruch's scientific work was related to this problem in 
one way or another. He also studied its connections to other problems, 
e.g., to the problem of isomonodromy deformations, which became important
at that time for other reasons. He wrote about 70 articles and several 

In 1994 Bolibruch was elected a deputy member of the Russian Academy 
of Sciences and, in 1997, a full member. In 1995 he was awarded the 
Lyapounov prize of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and in 2001 a State 
prize from the Russian Federation (for the cycle of works "Differential 
equations with meromorphic coefficients"). Besides his scientific work, 
in the last period of his life Bolibruch turned out to be a prominent 
organizer. From 1996 he was a Deputy Director of the Steklov Mathematical 
Institute, then (retaining this position) he became the head of the 
mathematical subdivision of the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the 
Russian Academy of Science, Vice-chairman of the Moscow Mathematical 
Society, and a member of the Scientific Council of the International 
Banach Mathematical Center. In 2002 he was elected a member of the 
Executive Committee of the IMU. In 2003 he was awarded the prize of the 
Charity foundation for the promotion of the native natural and humanitary 
sciences, nomination "Prominent scientists". It is difficult to 
overestimate his role in the organization of scientific work in Russia 
and international collaboration in mathematics.

He participated at many international conferences, often as an invited 
plenary lecturer, and he always used the opportunity to meet his western 
colleagues and broaden the international connections concerning not only 
the fields where he worked himself, but other fields as well. His position, 
organizing capabilities, and experience allowed him to play an important 
role in organizing international conferences in Russia.

Besides mathematics, Bolibruch had other interests: literature, painting,
theater. It is difficult to convey the warmth of his personality, which 
earned him many friends all over the world. He was married and had two 
children, a son and a daughter. He was a loving and devoted husband and 

Being seriously ill and knowing that there was no guarantee of recovery
(although hoping that the possibility was not excluded), he was still 
trying to play a useful role. He was working on his last mathematical 
paper, taking part in the supervision of the Steklov Institute and other 
organizations, writing memoirs on his life, and advising his students. 
His death is a terrible shock, not only to his relatives but to his 
friends in many countries. It is a great loss for mathematics and for 

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After the discontinuation of the WDM was announced in IMU-Net 1 a 
number of colleagues asked whether it would be possible to establish 
an electronic version of WDM. The IMU Committee on Electronic Information 
and Communication (CEIC, see has attended to 
this request and investigated the possibilities.

Due to the limited financial means of the IMU there is no way to set up 
and maintain a central registry such as the combined membership list of
AMS/MAA/SIAM/etc., see

It seems feasible, though, to keep a central list - based on distributed 
input and voluntary contributions. CEIC proposes to give this idea a try 
and start with a basic version of an Electronic World Directory of 
Mathematicians (EWDM).

The CEIC would like to couple this suggestion with the request to every
mathematician to offer a personal homepage on the Web. With respect to 
the contents and structure of such a personal homepage CEIC proposes the
design of a standardized personal homepage for mathematicians, to be 
called the Mathematician's Professional Homepage (MPH), that contains 
personal mathematical information in an organized fashion - just as the 
Math-Net Page is designed to display institutional mathematical 
information in a structured way. The design comes in two versions, a 
simple design and a more elaborate one.

The plea to offer and maintain a structured personal webpage should not 
be interpreted as a bureaucratic dampening of individual style. Reasons 
why structured webpages are desirable can be found at

The Personal Homepage Call

IMU asks every mathematician to set up and maintain a personal homepage.
IMU requests that this homepage is presented in a userfriendly way, and 
suggests a structure along the lines of the Mathematician's Professional
Homepage (MPH).

The Electronic World Directory of Mathematicians Call

IMU plans to set up and maintain an Electronic World Directory of 
Mathematicians (EWDM). Every mathematician who has a homepage is asked to 
register the homepage through the EWDM registration mechanism, see

For detailed information on these suggestions click on

Please follow these calls!

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Ulf Rehmann from Bielefeld (Germany) writes:

We have a paradoxical situation: It has never been so cheap, easy and
convenient to publish mathematics as it is today, thanks to the Internet, 
TeX, and computers, but mathematics publications have never been more 
expensive than today. Mathematics departments suffer, because they cannot 
afford to buy the journals they used to buy.

If you are concerned with the everlasting question concerning mathematics 
journals and their pricings, you might find it helpful to look at the 
following tables:

These journal price tables reflect the prices for 276 mathematics 
journals including their changes during the last 9 years. The tables 
have been compiled from information that was collected directly from the
journal publishers by the American Mathematical Society. In order to 
make price changes more transparent, the tables have been evaluated and
ordered under certain headings such as changes of the price per volume, 
the price per page etc. Some of these changes are stunning.

Ulf Rehmann (Bielefeld, Germany).

PS: My personal opinion on what should be done about the journal price
problems is to be found here:

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For nearly two years, the European Physical Society (EPS) has been 
engaged in making 2005 the World Year of Physics (WYP),  getting support
of international organisations for its realisation and success. This 
initiative was endorsed by the council of EPS and its member societies 
in 2001. It is also backed by UNESCO.

The main purpose of the WYP is to raise world-wide public awareness of 
physics and, more generally, of physical sciences.

The perception of physics and its importance in our daily life has 
decreased in the eyes of the general public to such a low level that the
number of physics students in high schools and universities has 
dramatically declined over the past few years. In order to address this 
problem, it is important that Physics Societies all over the world become
more active in sharing their visions and convictions about physics with 
politicians and the public in general. The illustration of physics, 
physical sciences, and their achievements, must be a major axis of the 
WYP, and should be the object of numerous and multiform activities aimed
at raising the interest of the general public: radio and television 
programmes, articles in newspapers and specialised magazines, books, 
action in schools and universities, general colloquia on physical 
sciences and the physical view of the world, local and itinerant
exhibits, action in the street, posters, stamps, advertising in mass 
transport systems, etc.

Some joint actions between physicists and mathematicians are already 
planned for this World Year.

For information, see:

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IMU is as much concerned about the current wave of spam mails as probably
everybody receiving this email. The current mailing list, called
"IMU-Net-initial", has been carefully selected from various sources including,
the e-mail addresses of those mathematicians who have participated in ICM 2002
in Beijing or ICM 1998 in Berlin. IMU thus hopes that most recipients have
some interest in the issues presented in this electronic newsletter.

Here is IMU's promise concerning the initial list of e-mail addresses:
IMU will send everybody on the current mailing list IMU-Net-initial the first 
two issues of IMU-Net. This list will be made inactive at the end of 2003 and 
will be replaced by a new IMU-Net mailing list. To get on this list you have 
to actively subscribe to the list. Thus, if you want to receive this mail
service in the future, you have to subscribe (no cost involved, of course).

There are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:
  1. Click on with a Web browser and go to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to IMU-Net online.
  2. Send an e-mail to with the Subject-line: Subject: subscribe
In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so that misuse will be minimized. -> back to contents
last updated: 2012-07-31