IMU-Net 47: May 2011

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. IMU booklet

4. Women in Mathematics: a contact person for IMU

5. Abel Prize 2011

6. 2013 ICPAM-CIMPA research schools call for projects

7. Committee on Women in Science Engineering and Medicine

8. Subscribing to IMU-Net

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1. EDITORIAL

I had the privilege of being elected Vice-president of the IMU at the

last General Assembly, and it is now five months that I am following

the activities of the IMU. The subjects discussed at the Executive

Committee are quite diverse, from the establishment of the permanent

office to the ranking and pricing of journals, to mathematics in

developing countries and the future ICM, and the members of the

Executive Committee tend to specialize on one or two dossiers.

Although I am a pure mathematician myself, I am becoming more and more

interested in the science of sustainability, so let me talk to you of

this. IMU is one of the international unions inside the International

Council of Science (ICSU). At the Executive we regularly receive

messages from ICSU asking for input from its members. While it is not

new that scientists are involved in the study of climate change and

sustainability issues, a new feeling of emergency has developed. The

warning signs are becoming more numerous that urgent action is needed

if we want to save the planet from a disastrous future, since we may

not be far from a point of no return: climate change with more extreme

weather events, rising of the sea level with the melting of glaciers,

shortage of food and water in the near future because of the increase

of the world population and the climate change, loss of biodiversity,

new epidemics or invasive species, etc. This explains why ICSU is starting

a new 10-year research initiative: EARTH SYSTEM RESEARCH FOR GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY,

and a Steering Committee for this initiative is

presently nominated. The goals of the Initiative are to:

1. Deliver at global and regional scales the knowledge that societies

need to effectively respond to global change while meeting economic

and social goals;

2. Coordinate and focus international scientific research to address

the Grand Challenges and Belmont Challenge;

3. Engage a new generation of researchers in the social, economic,

natural, health, and engineering sciences in global sustainability

research.

In the same spirit, ICSU is preparing a strong scientific presence

at the next United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

(Rio+20) that will take place on June 4-6, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. For

this, ICSU is organizing a number of preparatory regional and global

meetings. It is clear that mathematical sciences have an essential

role in the interdisciplinary research that needs to take place in

order to achieve significant impact. The other scientific disciplines

concerned are numerous from physics, to biology, to economics, etc.

Let me quote Graciela Chichilnisky, the author of the carbon market

of the UN Kyoto Protocol: "It is the physicists that study the climate change, but it

is the economists who advise the politicians that take the decisions."

Considering the importance of the contribution of mathematical

sciences in sustainability issues, IMU has asked to participate

actively in these preparatory meetings and be represented at Rio+20.

This should be an occasion to build partnerships with the other

scientific unions inside ICSU. More and more mathematicians and

research institutes around the world become interested in sustainable

development as is acknowledged by the large participation in

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (www.mpe2013.org) which was recently

endorsed by IMU. But the world needs more than a one year initiative.

The science of sustainability is full of challenging problems which

are very interesting mathematically. Many of these problems require

new mathematical techniques. We could hope that these initiatives will

allow training a new generation of researchers in mathematical

sciences who will be able to work in interdisciplinary teams to

address these issues.

Christiane Rousseau

Vice-President of Executive Committee of IMU

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2. IMU ON THE WEB: CEIC Meets and Introduces New Members

In early May, CEIC held its annual in person meeting at the Courant

Institute, New York University. This is an important opportunity for

the group to get to know each other and plan an agenda for the coming

year.

To begin to introduce IMU-Net readers to our new members, we asked

Thierry Bouche to write briefly about his background and outlook in

the CEIC context.

Thierry, maître de conférences at Institut Fourier (Université

Joseph-Fourier, Grenoble, France) and director of Cellule MathDoc (joint

service unit CNRS/UJF), has been associated with many Digital Mathematics

Library activities over the last decade.

To describe his recent activities, Thierry told us as follows:

"A lot of my recent work has been in the area of the World Digital Mathematical Library (W)DML:

(1) Trying to develop reasonable (and reasonably consensual) policies in

order to have more stakeholders endorsing the vision, and contributing

digital content to an ever more exhaustive repository of freely

accessible mathematical reference works.

(2) Trying to shape MathDoc related projects both as technical

testbeds, and as exemplary implementations over the small subset of

the corpus I am entitled to actually work with.

Although most of these projects are journal-oriented, I do care about

other formats--they are simply much more demanding to deal with.

(3) I formed and led the working group that wrote what became the first ever

international project funded to assemble a DML beyond a particular

project's or national boundary, while also addressing some math-specific

technical challenges. This project is currently running and should

start producing visible (but not as much impressive as I would have

hoped) results this Summer."

And, how might joint work in CEIC fit?

"On one hand, I had been discussing with many CEIC members in the past

decade--I participated in some meetings and contributed to some of the

recommendations as well, so the invitation to join was not so much of a

surprise. But I felt honoured anyway, and viewed this mainly as IMU's

support on many of my suggestions towards a more inclusive and

international DML. I hope that being backed up by IMU will open more

doors and help balance short-term commercial interests with the

long-lasting needs of the mathematical community."

Carol Hutchins

Courant Institute of Math Sciences Library

and member, CEIC

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3. IMU BOOKLET

The new IMU Secretariat was officially inaugurated on

February 1, 2011. The Secretariat has edited a small

booklet that provides information about the staff of

the new Secretariat, the speeches given at the inauguration

and brief information about the activities of IMU.

You can find the booklet at

www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/IMU/IMU_secretariat_booklet.pdf

and via

www.mathunion.org/general/news/secretariat-inauguration/

where further information about the opening ceremony and

more photos can be found.

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4. WOMEN IN MATHEMATICS: A CONTACT PERSON FOR IMU

There is a widely-recognized demand for an increase in mathematical

capacity, in all countries and at all levels. There is a need for

mathematicians, for teachers of mathematics, and for researchers and

practicing scientists who are knowledgeable about and comfortable with

mathematical tools.

At the same time the mathematical science community is losing talented

people at all levels. The proportion of women in academic mathematical

sciences declines at each successive professional level, beginning with PhD

graduates and progressing trough senior faculty and administration.

I believe that an important goal of the mathematical community is to

increase the presence of women in mathematics at all levels and that the

beneficiaries of the actions will be not women only.

There is evidence that the actions of departments, academic

institutions, other organizations such as professional societies , research

institutes, advocacy groups (like Association for Women in Mathematics,

European Women in Mathematics and WiM committees within mathematical

societies) can make a difference, which proves that appropriate

efforts are necessary and could be effective.

Therefore I have accepted with pleasure the invitation to be a "contact

person" who would help the IMU permanent Secretariat set up a web page

where people would find pointers to databases, articles, etc on the global

issue of Women and Mathematics, and who would relay to them information to

be added to the web page. My intent is to make the IMU web page a point of

departure for anyone who wants to find out about initiatives and/or

studies/findings related to Women and Mathematics, anywhere in the world.

I would like to use this opportunity to draw your attention to "A Call to

Action" the Report of the BIRS Workshop of Women in Mathematics, September

24-28 2006 www.birs.ca/workshops/2006/06w5504/report06w5504.pdf ,

which was a call for action to improve the representation and experiences of

women in mathematics in North America.

I have quoted from the report in the first paragraphs of my text here.

Dusanka Perisic

Department of Mathematics and Informatics, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Contact: dusanka@dmi.uns.ac.rs

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5. ABEL PRIZE 2011

The American mathematician John Milnor (Institute for Mathematical

Sciences, Stony Brook University, New York, USA) has received the 2011

Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald at an award ceremony in Oslo,

Norway, 24 May 2011.

The Abel Lectures took place at the University of Oslo, 25 May 2011.

John Milnor gave his prize lecture, Curtis McMullen (Harvard

University, USA) and Michael Hopkins (Harvard University, USA) were

invited to give the Abel Lectures. The aim of the Abel Lectures is to

give a general audience a glimpse of the mathematics of the Abel

Laureate and to convey to the general mathematician the importance and

impact of his work. The Science Lecture was delivered by Etienne

Ghys (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France).

For more information, see: www.abelprisen.no/en

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6. 2013 ICPAM-CIMPA RESEARCH SCHOOLS CALL FOR PROJECTS

The aim of the International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics

ICPAM-CIMPA is to promote international cooperation in higher

education and research in mathematics and their interactions, as well

as related subjects, particularly computer science, for the benefit of

developing countries. Our action concentrates on the places where

mathematics emerges and develops, and where a research project is

possible.

ICPAM-CIMPA is a UNESCO centre located in Nice, with financial support

from the French Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la

Recherche (France), the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis (France),

the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion (Spain) and UNESCO.

We organize research schools of about two weeks in developing

countries. The purpose of these schools is to contribute to the

research training of the new generation of mathematicians, women and

men.

Once selected by the Scientific Committee and the Steering Council of

ICPAM-CIMPA, research schools are organized locally with the help of

ICPAM-CIMPA. ICPAM-CIMPA's financial contribution is essentially for

young mathematicians from neighbouring countries to be able to attend

the research school. ICPAM-CIMPA can help with obtaining founds from

other sources.

Proposals related to applications of mathematics are specially welcome.

The call for proposals for research schools begins on March 1st, 2011.

The deadline for a pre-proposal is June 15, 2011. The complete proposal

is due October 1st, 2011.

The application form can be found on ICPAM-CIMPA website

(http://www.cimpa-icpam.org/spip.php?article154 ), you can also write

to cimpa@unice.fr

For more information, see

www.cimpa-icpam.org

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7. COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN SCIENCE ENGINEERING AND MEDECINE

The Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM)

is a standing committee of the National Research Council (USA). Its

mandate is to coordinate, monitor, and advocate action to increase the

participation of women in science, engineering, and medicine.

Among several activities, it organized the workshop "Blueprint for the

Future: Framing the Issues of Women in Science in a Global Context"

see sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/cwsem/PGA_061309

The Committee provided a list of reliable resources that present relevant

statistical data on women researchers in science.

See: sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/cwsem/PGA_049131

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8. SUBSCRIBING TO IMU-NET

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