IMU-Net 41: May 2010

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union

Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France

CONTENTS

1. Editorial

2. IMU on the Web

3. ICM 2010

4. Abel Prize 2010

5. Shaw Prize

6. A book on ICM's

7. Subscribing to IMU-Net

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1. EDITORIAL

The single most important event of the Union this year is, of

course our Congress in Hyderabad. But there is also an adjacent,

but different event of great importance: The General Assembly in

Bangalore on August 16 and 17, 2010.

The General Assembly meets once in every four years, traditionally

just before the Congress. It performs many tasks vital for the

functioning of the Union. Some of these are natural (and

traditional). The GA has to elect the new leadership, including

the next President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, and members of the

Executive Committee (EC). Candidates for these positions have been

found by the Nominating Committee, which is separate from the

Executive Committee, and was headed by our former President David

Mumford.

The other main body to be elected is the Commission for Developing

Countries (CDC). In this form, this is a new Commission, whose

charge is a combination of the charges of the former Commission for

Development and Exchanges (CDE) and the Developing Countries Strategy

Group. We hope that having a single commission to deal with all

issues in connection with developing countries makes the work more

efficient and decreases the possibility of important issues falling

between the cracks.

There are other items on the agenda which are traditional: among

others, the GA has to approve the site of the 2014 Congress, after

hearing a presentation by the proposed organizers from Seoul, Korea.

The EC will also report on successes (and also failures) in its

activities: new prizes, a new fundraising organization, new

memberships, cooperation with the International Commission on

Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), with UNESCO, and with other

organizations.

But I want to say more about one agenda item that is extremely

important: the establishment of a stable office. The last General

Assembly (Santiago de Compostela, 2006) charged the EC with looking

into the possibility of setting up such an office. It is natural to

be skeptical about this: after all, the IMU has functioned very well

over many years while staying as informal and un-bureaucratic as

possible, just having a small office where the Secretary is located.

But looking deeper into the issue made it clear that the charge by

the GA was justified. With stricter and stricter legislation

targeting money laundering and terrorism, it becomes more and more

difficult to move the office from one continent to another any time

a new Secretary is elected. There was also a pressing need to solve

the problem of secretarial help for CDC and ICMI.

Looking deeper into the issue also revealed that, unfortunately, the

finances of the Union do not allow the rental and staffing of a new

office. Therefore we turned to the community for help, based on the

idea that a larger research institute could, perhaps, find office

space and secretarial capacity to spare for the IMU.

The reply was overwhelming, and I must say I was moved by this

expression of support for the activities of IMU. We got 12 replies,

expressing serious interest in hosting the stable office. After one

round of discussions, we received six detailed proposals, all of

which were very generous and each of which could provide a solution.

After a lot of discussions, we selected three "finalists": in

alphabetical order, the Fields Institute in Toronto, Instituto

Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio, and the

Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS) in

Berlin. All three possible sites were visited by the "Stable Office

Committee" appointed by the EC. The EC did not want to decide between

these three outstanding offers, and will put it to the GA to decide

whether to establish a stable office and, after presentations by the

bidding institutions and by the Stable Office Committee, to select

the location.

Establishing our stable office, along with other important decisions

to be made by the GA, should provide proper conditions for the IMU to

fulfil its tasks in a world where mathematics plays an ever-increasing

role.

Laszlo Lovasz

President of IMU

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2. IMU ON THE WEB: EuDML PROJECT NEWS

In the light of mathematicians'reliance on their discipline’s rich

published heritage and the key role of mathematics in enabling other

scientific disciplines, the mathematical community has spent a huge

effort over more than a decade (1) toward making the significant corpus

of published mathematics scholarship available online, in the form of an

authoritative and enduring distributed digital collection: The

Digital Mathematics Library (DML).

While the initial idea of a centralized, worldwide initiative never

approached consensus on governance and funding, many national projects

led to the digitization of large quantities of mathematical literature,

many of those based in Europe. Some of these acquired as well new

material directly from their publishers, prefiguring building blocks of

a global virtual infrastructure for third-party preservation and wide

access to our mathematical heritage, as a natural extension of our

traditional paper libraries. (2)

Regarding supranational integration of these collections, a breakthrough

was achieved last year when the EuDML project obtained support from the

European Commission in the framework of the Information and

Communications Technologies Policy Support Programme. (3) EuDML will design

and build a collaborative digital library service that will collate the

mathematical content brought by 11 European partners and make it

accessible from a single platform, tightly integrated with relevant

infrastructures such as the Zentralblatt. As such, it will be the first

attempt toward a large-scale implementation of the DML, and is expected

to pave the way towards a truly inclusive and global DML. (4)

(1) For a history of the inception of the WDML project up to year 2004,

visit www.library.cornell.edu/dmlib/ .

(2) Two papers by Thierry Bouche (EuDML scientific coordinator) document

the activities and thoughts that took place in the period 2005-2009:

(a) "Toward a digital mathematics library?", chapter in the book

Communicating mathematics in the digital era (Jon Borwein, Eugénio

Rocha, and José Rodrigues eds.): AK Peters Ltd, 2008, p. 47-73.

(b) "Digital Mathematics Libraries: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly",

Mathematics in Computer Science v.3 (3), special issue on Authoring,

Digitalization and Management of Mathematical Knowledge (Serge

Autexier, Petr Sojka, and Masakazu Suzuki eds.) (May 2010),

p. 227-241.

(3) Administrative profile as viewed by the European Commission:

ec.europa.eu/information_society/apps/projects/factsheet/index.cfm

(4) The EuDML website is currently only describing the project's plans:

www.eudml.eu . It is expected to start to give access before

summer 2011, and to provide a running service with many innovative ways

of retrieving mathematical texts before the end of 2012.

Noteworthy Bits

1. The NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions has had its

formal launch. dlmf.nist.gov

In addition, a book updating the original has been published by

Cambridge University Press: NIST Handbook of Mathematical

Functions, Edited by Frank W. J. Olver, Daniel W. Lozier, Ronald F.

Boisvert, and Charles W. Clark ISBN-13: 9780521192255.

Dan Lozier introduces the work on this video,

www.youtube.com/watch;

2. There is a project hosted in Google called LaTeX-Labs,

code.google.com/p/latex-lab/

Here one will find links to a few other web-based LaTeX editors.

Thierry Bouche

Scientific coordinator of the EuDML project

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3. INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF MATHEMATICIANS (ICM 2010)

A) A general view

The year 2010 is significant for mathematics. It marks the centenary of the

founding of the Indian Mathematical Society, while a second mathematical

society - the Ramanujan Mathematical Society - will be celebrating its

Silver Jubilee. India will be hosting the International Congress of

Mathematicians (ICM) in Hyderabad during August 19-27, 2010. This is the

first time in more than hundred years of history of the ICMs that the

Congress will be held in India and only the third time in an Asian country

(the 1990 Congress was held in Kyoto and the 2002 Congress in Beijing).

Recent Congresses have had an attendance of around 3500 delegates. The

General Assembly of IMU will also meet in Bangalore during 16-17 August.

India has a long tradition of pursuit of mathematics. The recognition of

zero as a number and the place value system for representing numbers with

its use is an Indian innovation dating back to the early centuries of the

Christian era. India had also made progress in geometry contemporaneous

with the Greeks and even earlier. During the middle ages, India recorded

substantial achievements in algebra as well. Aryabhata and Brahmagupta

were mathematicians of the first rank. Madhava, a fourteenth century

mathematician from South West India had discovered the essentials of

calculus long before Newton and Leibniz. But all this was in an era when

science was pursued by isolated intellectuals with no serious impact on

the practical world.

India was among the participant countries in the meetings that led up to

the formation of the new IMU. Despite its role in the deliberations that

resulted in the formation of the new IMU, India became a member of the IMU

only in 1954 - two years after its inception. K Chandrasekharan, an

eminent Indian mathematician served with distinction on the Executive

Committee of the IMU for a period of twenty four consecutive years, five

of them as Secretary and four as President of the Union.

Among the exciting events that will take place on the sidelines of the

Congress will be a Classical Indian (Hindustani) Music Concert by the

renowned artist Rashid Khan, an Indian Dance-Drama (Bharata Natyam) by the

troupe Nrityashree (lead by Professor C V Chandrasekhar) and a play. Some

40 lucky delegates/accompanying persons will get the opportunity to play

chess against the current World Champion Grandmaster Vishy Anand. There

will be some public out-reach events also during the Congress. India, of

course, is a wonderful tourist destination catering to every taste and

interest.

One new feature of the Hyderabad Congress is that it will be preceded by

a 2-day meeting styled "International Congress of Women Mathematicians"

which will focus attention on women in mathematics. The initiative for

holding this comes from the organization "European Women in Mathematics".

This is the first meeting of its kind.

At Hyderabad, a new prize, the Chern Medal, named after S.S.Chern, a

towering figure in geometry in the twentieth century, is to be awarded for

the first time to an individual whose lifelong outstanding achievements in

mathematics warrant the highest level of recognition.

The Executive Organising Committee (EOC) of ICM is aware of the

importance of mathematics reaching out to the public. It would like to

recognize outstanding efforts made in that direction in a fitting manner.

Towards this end it has instituted a one-time international prize of

1,000,000/- (Indian) Rupees (approximately 20,000/- US Dollars) for

outstanding contribution to public outreach for mathematics by an

individual. The prize is to be announced and awarded at ICM in

Hyderabad, India.

B) Some practical information

The last date for registration at the "early bird" rate of Rs. 16,000

has been extended to May 31 midnight (Indian Standard Time =

GMT+0530). If you register after this date but before July 15, you

will have to pay Rs. 18,000.

A refund of the registration fee, less 15% of the fee paid, may be

obtained on cancellation if the same is effected before July 15.

The registration charges will be Rs. 22,000 after July 15 (please see

the table at www.icm2010.org.in/registration). No refunds will

be admissible after July 15.

Note that presentations of Posters/Short Communications will be allowed

only for those who have registered by May 15 (and made their submissions

by the last date given for the same).

For more, see:

www.icm2010.org.in

The Executive Organising Committee

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4. ABEL PRIZE 2010

The American mathematician John Torrence Tate, University of Texas at

Austin, has received the 2010 Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald

at an award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, 25 May 2010. The Abel Prize

carries a cash award of NOK 6,000,000 (close to € 730,000 or US$ 1

mill.) is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

For more see:

www.abelprisen.no/en/

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5. Shaw Prize

On May 27, the 2010 Shaw Prizes have been announced. The Prize in

Mathematical Sciences was awarded to Jean Bourgain, Institute for

Advanced Study, Princeton, USA for his profound work in mathematical

analysis and its application to partial differential equations,

mathematical physics, combinatorics, number theory, ergodic theory

and theoretical computer science. For more detail see

www.shawprize.org/en/shawprize2010/announcement/announcement.html

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6. A BOOK ON INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES OF MATHEMATICIANS

"Mathematicians of the World Unite! The International Congress of

Mathematicians–A Human Endeavor"

Guillermo P. Curbera

AK Peters, 2009

This book contains valuable information about all

the international congresses that have taken place

so far.

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7. SUBSCRIBING TO IMU-NET

There are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:

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Subject: subscribe

In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so

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Previous issues can be seen at:

www.mathunion.org/imu-net/archive/