IMU-Net 57: January 2013
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IMU-Net 57: January 2013
A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France


Mathematics, Local and Global Communities
We as mathematicians are very proud to belong to a large international
community that every four years pays tribute to its most outstanding
representatives. These bonds began over a century ago with the call made by
Felix Klein, the German delegate at the Congress of Mathematics and
Astronomy held in Chicago in 1893, on the occasion of the Columbian
Exposition: "Mathematicians of the world, unite!"
In essence, the international mathematical community was initially a European
community (currently embodied in the institution of the EMS, the European
Mathematical Society), which was later extended to North America,
These ties have survived to the world greatest conflicts.
Throughout recent decades, other mathematical communities in the countries
of East Asia have risen strongly, first in Japan, then in China, India
and South
Korea; all have undergone a spectacular development. Since 2002, two
International Congresses of Mathematicians (ICM) have been held in the
region; in Beijing in 2002 and Hyderabad in 2010, while a third is due to be
held in Seoul in 2014. In addition, this region - which includes
countries with a great diversity of cultures - has acquired a
structure with supranational
organizations such as the South East Asian Mathematical Society (SEAMS) and
the celebration of regional congresses.
Furthermore, a new community has emerged on the other side of the Pacific
Ocean, in Latin America. The advances in mathematical research in many of
these countries have gone hand in hand with an improvement in economic
conditions and the establishment of more stable and more democratic regimes.
National societies have agreed to share activities through, for example, the
Unión Matemática de América Latina y el Caribe (UMALCA - TheMathematical
Union of Latin America and the Caribbean). This year, in August 2013, the
Mathematical Congress of the Americas will be held in Guanajuato, a unique
event that for the first time will bring together mathematicians from
the length
and breadth of the American continent, from Canada to Argentina and Chile.
The African mathematical community is also showing healthy signs of growth,
with the consolidation of the African Mathematical Union (AMU). Despite the
many political and socio-economic problems facing African countries, there are
nevertheless reasons to feel optimistic. The data on publications in
JCR journals over the last 10 years are testimony to the significant
growth in these large regional blocks, as well as to their increasing
These geographical groups, which to some extent are those which the
International Council for Science (ICSU) wishes to strengthen and which belong
to the new socio-economic blocks in the world, must interact mutually.
However, it is up to institutions such as the IMU, in the field of
research, and its ICMI commission, in the field of education, to
ensure that this integration is achieved.
The good news is that mathematics is flourishing like never before in
the world,
while international coordination is stronger than ever, pointing the
way forward
in a direction that our politicians might do well to follow. The IMU
is vital for the success of the international mathematical community
in the 21st century; it is also our guarantee and our greatest wealth.
Manuel de Leon
Member of IMU EC

IMU on the Web

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDF) [1], a consortium
which includes many publishing and software firms as institutional
members and which promotes standards for electronic publishing,
published its EPub 3.0 standard [2] in late 2011.  This new standard
provides many advantages for mathematics publication, from journals to
textbooks.  Focusing on journals, the current de facto standard for
delivering math articles from journals electronically uses PDF files
-- but in particular for mobile devices such as tablets, PDF files
make for an uncomfortable reading experience.  The rigid pagination
and magnification of PDF content frequently requires readers to zoom
and scroll pages excessively.  By contrast, EPub3 relies on web
standards and technologies (for example, the primary content documents
in an EPub3 publication are written in XHTML5, the strict XML syntax
variant of the current HTML5 web content standard [3]).  This allows
text and pagination to reflow based on the demands of the window or
screen size, making the reader's experience more natural.  Moreover,
the XHTML5 content documents also support MathML [5] for including
mathematical expressions and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) [5] for
high-quality rescalable graphics content.  The EPub3 specification
also allows reader software to optionally support JavaScript
scripting, which allows for interactive embedded graphics and other
uses which can be both engaging and mathematically meaningful for
For journal (or textbook) publishers, the EPub3 standard offers many
other advantages.  Consider, for example, if a reader wants to
download just a few articles, but more than one, from a journal issue.
 The EPub3 package manifest, metadata, and "spine" (which provides a
linear ordering of the XHTML content documents to guide reader
software through page turns between content documents) are all
specified in a straightforward XML syntax which can be easily merged
in an automated process on the journal's server, allowing the server
to dynamically repackage the selected articles into a single EPub3
package for download and delivery.  For editorial management, articles
can then be submitted as EPub3 packages, which are entirely
self-contained even if some of the content includes scripted
interactive material, thus avoiding the broken links and software
plug-in issues common when taking submissions in plain HTML form.
Software for reading EPub3 publications is becoming increasingly
common, with choices available for both Android and iOS platforms (for
iOS, Apple's iBook reader does nicely with EPub3, including support
for scripting; for Android, the Helicon and IDEAL apps both support
EPub3 with varying degrees of success), although the available choices
will surely improve in the near future.  Interestingly, the software
currently available for reading EPub3 on mobile devices all use WebKit
technologies (as found in Chrome and Safari browsers) for rendering,
and most (especially on Android) use MathJax [6] to implement MathML
support.  Authoring software is currently more scarce, but BlueGriffon
[7] is an interesting (if somewhat expensive) commercial authoring
product which supports EPub3, and again, others are sure to come soon.
[1] International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF):
[2] EPub 3.0 materials at IDPF:
[3] W3C HTML5 draft specification:
[4] W3C MathML Working Group Home:
[5] W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group Home:
[6] MathJax home:
[7] BlueGriffon EPub Edition:
Based on presentation: "Emerging Standards in Electronic Math Publication"
At 2013 AMS-MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings
Thomas E. Leathrum, Jacksonville State University
email: leathrum (at)

ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place in
Seoul, Korea, from Wednesday August 13, through Thursday August 21,
2014. We welcome our colleagues from around the world to the congress,
and very much hope that you will also be able to attend ICM2014 and
savor some of the fine attractions that our country offers. Korea,
with a five-millennia-long history, is an attractive place to visit,
and Seoul, the capital of Korea for over 600 years, is a city where
the traditional and cutting-edge coexist side-by-side in perfect
Family-friendly ICM
Seoul is filled with great family-friendly activities. For the
participants who are accompanying family members, we introduces a
course that connects some of Seoul?s best destinations for the
traveling family.
NANUM 2014
To make the congress a true world-wide gathering, the Organizing
Committee places special emphasis on attracting mathematicians from
developing countries. Members of the Korean Mathematical Society fully
acknowledge the gracious support received from IMU and the
international mathematical community in the 70?s and 80?s, and hope
more countries can share the benefits. This has motivated the theme of
- Solidarity in Mathematics -, and the 1,000 mathematicians from
developing countries to be invited to Korea during ICM 2014, many of
whom would not have been able to visit an ICM otherwise. The Seoul ICM
Travel Fellowship Fund was set up for this purpose, and the fund is
expected to receive over US$2 million by 2014 mainly from global
corporations and individual donors. With the cooperation from IMU/CDC,
draft guidelines for this travel assistance program, called "NANUM
2014," have been developed. The Organizing Committee only considers
applications for support for research visits made by individual
mathematicians with a Ph.D. or equivalent.
About NANUM 2014 in detail
The financial support will be granted in three categories:
45% senior mathematicians
45% junior mathematicians
10% advanced graduate students
The financial support will be granted in five regions:
East and Southeast Asia including China and North Korea
South and West Asia including Indian subcontinent
Eastern Europe including North Asia
Central and South America
The tentative timeline of the application and selection procedure has set
Jan. 2013 : Selection of international ambassadors
Mar. 2013 : Selection of regional reviewers
Jun. 2013 - Aug. 2013 : Call for applications
Sep. 2013 - Dec. 2013 : Review applications
Jan. 2014 : Notification of acceptance
The pre-registration process for the ICM 2014 is underway. If you have
not yet pre-registered, please do so by following the simple
instructions at the homepage: The ICM e-News
is being circulated to the people who pre-registered for the congress.
Hyungju Park
Chairman, ICM 2014 Organizing Committee

Capacity and Networking Project (CANP)

The Capacity & Networking Project is a successful development project
of ICMI supported by IMU, UNESCO and ICSU as well as regional
governments and institutions.
The main goal of CANP is to reinforce the mathematics and didactic
competences of those responsible for the ongoing professional
development of mathematics teachers in developing countries, and to
create sustained and effective regional networks of teachers,
mathematics educators and mathematicians.
Primarily aimed at mathematics teachers educators, each program also
includes mathematicians, researchers, policy-makers, and teachers.
The project consists of an ongoing series of programs in a different
developing region each year.  Each program includes a two-week
workshop of forty participants, half from the host country and half
from the region.
The different CANP Programs:
CANP 2011: West Africa.
As a follow-up, CANP-EDiMaths 3 will take place in Burkina Faso in 2015.
CANP 2012: Central America and the Caribbean.
The most important result of CANP Costa Rica 2012 was the
establishment of the Mathematics Education Network of Central America
and the Caribbean.
Some videos on CANP 2012 can be seen here:
CANP 2013: South East Asia.
The third CANP program will be organized at the National Institute for
Education in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 14th to 25th October in 2013.
CANP 2014: East Africa.
A fourth program is planned for 2014 in Tanzania.
Further information about the CANP can be found here:

Workshop on Mathematics of climate change, related hazards and risks

Applications are invited of a 5-day workshop that is organized as a
satellite activity of the 2013 Mathematical Congress of the Americas
at CIMAT in Guanajuato (Mexico) during July 29 -- August 2 2013. The
workshop will bring together about 40 young researchers, mainly from
Latin America and the Caribbean and a dozen distinguished scientists,
each of which will give several lectures on a chosen topic.
The workshop is part of the world initiative "Mathematics of Planet
Earth 2013" which is endorsed by IMU ( It is jointly
organized by IMU together with the International Union of Geodesy and
Geophysics (IUGG) and the International Union of Theoretical and
Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). It is sponsored by the International
Council of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM), and supported
by ICSU Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, by two
interdisciplinary bodies of ICSU, namely IRDR (Integrated Research on
Disaster Risk) and WCRP, by the US National Academy of Sciences, by
the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, and by CIMAT (Centro de
Investigación en Matemáticas) in Mexico. Hopefully the workshop will
be funded by ICSU. The members of the Scientific Committee are Susan
Friedlander (IMU),  Ilya Zaliapin (IUGG) and Paul F. Linden (IUTAM).
More details and application form at:

Passing away of professor Lars Hörmander

Professor Lars Hörmander passed away on 25 November 2012.
After having held positions as professor in Stockholm, at Stanford and
at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Lars Hörmander was
appointed professor in Lund, where he remained until his retirement.
In 1962 he received the Fields medal for his pioneering work on linear
partial differential equations. His further work on partial
differential equations, including studies of pseudo-differential
operators and the introduction of Fourier integral operators, has been
most influential, as has his contribution to the theory of
multidimensional complex analysis.

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE2013)

IMU will host an MPE Day at UNESCO in Paris on March 5 2013
( This day will coincide with the
European launch of MPE2013 and with the launch of the International
MPE Exhibition. The winners of the MPE competition will receive their
prize on this occasion.
MPE2013 is now endorsed by the International Council of Science (ICSU).
The number of partners of MPE2013 is over 125 and continues to
increase. Several of the new partners are academic partners, and
decide to organize local activities in their region.
The Simons Foundation confirmed its support for a whole series of nine
MPE Public Lectures to take place around the world. High quality
videos of the lectures will be produced and placed on the website on
the Simons Foundation. The first MPE Simons Public Lecture was given
by Simon Levin in Melbourne (Australia) on January 29 2013 as part of
the Australian launch of MPE2013.
There are now two daily blogs, one in English at one in French at
Both blogs are looking for bloggers! If you want to blog in English,
send a message at blog(at), and if you want to blog in French,
then send a message to 1jour1breve(at)
Many countries have held national launches of MPE2013 (Canada,
Malaysia, UK, USA, Australia). Some countries are planning to organize
their national launch on March 5 2013 at the same time as the MPE Day
at UNESCO. Holding a national MPE launch raises a lot of enthusiasm in
the country: it alerts many members of the community including the
public and the schools, who did not know about it. It is also an
occasion for the researchers to learn some of the beautiful
mathematical problems behind the planetary issues.

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last updated: 2013-01-31