IMU-Net 21: January 2007
IMU > IMU-Net 21: January 2007  Home | Contact | Sitemap

IMU-Net 21: January 2007

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


  1. Editorial
  2. News from IMU
  3. IMU on the Web
  4. The ICM through history
  5. News from ICMI
  6. Pan African Congress of Mathematicians (7th PACOM, 2008)
  7. 2007 Wolf Prizes in Mathematics and Physics
  8. The Poincaré conjecture in the BBC news
  9. Subscribing to IMU-Net


Dear Reader,
	The General Assembly in Santiago elected new officers of the
International Mathematical Union (IMU), and the new leadership took office
January 1, 2007.
In the name of all the new officers, it is my pleasure to welcome you to
this new issue of IMU-Net, the electronic newsletter of the IMU.

We hope you will find this newsletter as a very useful tool supporting
communication between the officers of the IMU and the mathematical
community worldwide.
You'll find information about decisions of the General Assembly and various
committees, on major international mathematical events, and many other
issues of mutual interest. The leadership, in return, hopes to get
recommendations and other feedback from readers and member societies.

I take this opportunity to thank those officers who
are retiring, and also those who agreed to serve another term,
for their invaluable service to our community. In particular, I wish
to thank John Ball for his tremendous work as President, and
Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, for her continuing work as the Editor of
this newsletter.

Please subscribe to IMU-net, following the instructions described
below. This is free of charge, but necessary in order to receive
further issues.

Laszlo Lovasz
International Mathematical Union

                                                     -> back to contents


New IMU Executive Committee, new IMU office

At the beginning of 2007 a new IMU executive committee has
started its four years term. The IMU EC 2007 - 2010 elected
at the General Assembly at Santiago de Compostela has the
following members:

President: László Lovász (Hungary)
Secretary: Martin Grötschel (Germany)
Vice Presidents: Zhi-Ming Ma (China), Claudio Procesi (Italy)
Members at Large:
M. Salah Baouendi (USA)
Manuel de León (Spain)
Ragni Piene (Norway)
Cheryl E. Praeger (Australia)
Victor A. Vassiliev (Russia)
Marcelo Viana (Brazil)
Ex Officio:
John M. Ball, Past President (United Kingdom)

With the change of the secretary, the IMU office has moved
from Princeton to Berlin. The new IMU office address is:

International Mathematical Union
Office of the Secretariat
Zuse Institute Berlin
Takustr. 7
D-14195 Berlin
Fax: +49 30 84185 - 269

                                                     -> back to contents


Cost and quantity

Found a new product you really like? Well you had better buy it, and
tell your friends to buy it too; and to tell their friends. If it has
only a few sales it'll disappear. And even if it survives as a niche
product, it certainly will not be able to do that at just its
introductory price.

Exactly this principle applies, with bells on, to a new journal of
which you truly approve. Tell your library, and tell your friends to
tell their libraries. The more subscriptions a journal obtains, and
holds to, the cheaper it can continue to be. And, in the case of a new
journal, put your money where your mouth is and, pour encourager les
autres, submit your best work to it.

These remarks are not quite unprovoked. Google the Wikipedia entry
"Topology (Journal)" and read the 'diatribe' at IMU on the Web #18.

Don't send that e-mail!

E-mail is great for asking a straightforward question, and all the
better for answering it with a "yes", or a "no". It's a miserably bad
medium for conveying a nuanced complicated message because writers
tend not to reread or edit the message they're about to send and
readers often do little more than briefly scan their mail. My CEIC
colleague Jon Borwein writes in extenso about the benefits dangers of
'immediate text modalities' (ITMs) at IMU on the Web #18.

For more and details see

Alf van der Poorten (
Member of the CEIC.

                                                     -> back to contents


At the ICM in Madrid last year, there was an exhibition, curated by
Guillermo Curbera, on the history of the ICMs. Parts of this exhibit is
now available at the web site

                                                     -> back to contents


What we know today as ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical
Instruction) was initially a Commission founded in 1908 at the
International Congress of Mathematicians in Rome with Felix Klein as
President. Its first aim was to compare the methods and plans of
teaching mathematics in different countries. This initiative met with a
great success.
From that time its missions have progressively enlarged and today its
ambitio is to provide an international forum for the study and
improvement of mathematics education around the world, a space for
reflection, exchange and collaboration, for the dissemination of ideas
and results, to all those professionally concerned by mathematics
education: teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, scholars,
mathematicians, administrators, policy-makers. Beyond the International
Congresses in Mathematics Education (ICME) organized every four years,
ICMI tries to achieve this ambition through different activities :
ICMI Studies, Regional Conferences, Solidarity Fund activities, through
the support it offers to different projects in collaboration with IMU,
UNESCO and other institutions, and last but not least through the
activities of its five Affiliated Study Groups :
- The International Study Group on the Relations between the History and
  Pedagogy of Mathematics (HPM);
- The International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME);
- The International Organization of Women and Mathematics Education (IOWME);
- The World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions(WFME);
- The International Study Group for Mathematical Modelling and Applications
For more information on ICMI activities, see :

Even if ICMI is a sub-commission of IMU, the collaboration between the
two institutions has not always been very intense. Since 1998, the
situation has seriously improved, due to the action of the two Executive
Committees, and of their respective Presidents: Hyman Bass for ICMI,
Jacob Palis and then John Ball for IMU. The first joint ICMI-IMU Study,
called The Pipeline Study, whose aim is to study the number of students
choosing to do mathematics at university level in various countries and
how this has changed over the last 10 or 20 years, is now starting.
Within the frame of the DCSG (Developing Country Strategy Group) of IMU,
we have begun to coordinate our respective actions towards the developing
world in Africa, and now in South East Asia, in collaboration also with
the CIMPA (International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics).
We have jointly supported the international exhibition "Experiencing
Mathematics" realized under the auspices of UNESCO and its one year
travel in Southern Africa in 2006. We are jointly planning for the future
regional seminars in developing countries involving activities directed
to mathematicians, mathematics teachers and mathematics educators.
I enter thus the Presidency of ICMI at a time when new avenues open,
hoping that, thanks to this increasing collaboration, ICMI and IMU
will be able to find new and better solutions to the many and difficult
problems that mathematics education and the preparation of teachers
face all over the world.
Being elected as the President of ICMI is an immense honour and also a
huge responsibility, but seeing what has been accomplished up to now
makes me confident for the future, and I hope that during my mandate,
the members of the mathematics community will contribute more and more
to ICMI activities, all over the world.

Michèle Artigue,
President of ICMI

                                                     -> back to contents


First Announcement and call for paper (7th PACOM, 2008)

The African Mathematical Union(AMU) in cooperation with the Egypt
Academy of Scientific Research & Technology (ASRT) announces the
seventh Pan African Congress of Mathematicians.
Theme: Mathematical Sciences  Developments  and Trends
Date: 27-31 August 2008
Venue: Teba Rose Hotel, Heleopolis, Cairo (Egypt)

                                                     -> back to contents


The 2006/7 Wolf Prize in Mathematics will be jointly awarded to:

Stephen J. Smale (University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley,
California, USA) for his  groundbreaking contributions that  have
played a  fundamental role in  shaping differential topology,
dynamical  systems, mathematical economics, and other subjects in
mathematics and Harry Furstenberg (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, Israel) for his profound contributions to ergodic theory,
probability, topological dynamics, analysis  on symmetric spaces and
homogenous flows.

The 2007 Wolf Prize in Physics is shared by Professor Albert Fert
(France) and Professor Peter Gruenberg (Germany), for their
independent discovery of the giant magnetoresistance phenomenon,
thereby launching a new field of research and applications known as
spintronics, which utilizes the electron spin to store and transport

The Prize in each field will be presented by the President of the
State of Israel at the Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem, on 13 May


                                                     -> back to contents


See the paper in the BBC News :

                                                     -> back to contents


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: subscribe
In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so that misuse will be minimized. IMU will not use the list of IMU-Net addresses for any purpose other than sending IMU-Net, and will not make it available to others. Previous issues can be seen at: -> back to contents
last updated: 2012-07-31