IMU-Net 24: July 2007

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

CONTENTS

  1. Editorial
  2. Committee on "Quantitative Assessment of Research"
  3. IMU on the Web
  4. News from ICMI
  5. Shaw prize
  6. Subscribing to IMU-Net
________________________________________________________________________

1. EDITORIAL

Dear Reader,

The International Congress of Mathematicians will be held in India in
2010, about a century after Srinivasa Ramanujan, a young Indian with
little formal  mathematical training, sent his famous letters to G. H.
Hardy in England.  What a splendid opportunity to celebrate the
universality of mathematics!  ICM 2010 will be the third time the
Congress has been held in Asia, and the second time in a developing
country.  The IMU has been striving to increase the participation of
mathematical communities and mathematicians from around the world.
Currently 68 countries are members of the IMU (out of about 190 member
states of the United Nations). There are many countries, not yet IMU
members, with substantial mathematical activities, whose participation
in the IMU would be mutually beneficial.  Others have written in
previous issues
of this Newsletter about IMU programs to strengthen mathematics and
mathematics education
in the developing world.

In order to encourage more developing countries to become IMU members,
the IMU General Assembly, meeting in Santiago de Compostela in August
2006, voted to establish a new category of membership, that of
Associate Member
(http://www.mathunion.org/Organization/Statutes2006.pdf).  An
organization of mathematicians in a developing country that has not
been an IMU member may apply for Associate Membership for a period of
up to eight years
without paying dues. An Associate Member country may participate in
many IMU activities, including sending a delegate to the General
Assembly.  More importantly, mathematicians from an Associate Member
country will have the opportunity to interact with other
mathematicians around the world and increase the visibility of their
country in the mathematical community.

The list of current IMU members can be found at

http://www.mathunion.org/Members/continents.html. I hope you, the
reader, will encourage your mathematical contacts from nonmember
countries to talk with their colleagues about joining the IMU. As
Claudio Procesi wrote in the last Newsletter, we need all the help we
can get!

It is a great privilege for me to serve on the Executive Committee of
the IMU, and I am grateful for the opportunity to write this editorial.

M. Salah Baouendi
Member, IMU Executive Committee

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2. COMMITTEE ON QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT OF RESEARCH

ICIAM/IMS/IMU set up a joint Committee on "Quantitative Assessment of
Research"

The International Council of Industrial and Applied Mathematics
(ICIAM), the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics (IMS), and the
International Mathematical Union (IMU) have formed a Committee of
"Quantitative Assessment of Research" that will investigate various
aspects of the quantitative assessment of research in mathematics. The
Committee will, in particular, look into impact factors and similar
ways to measure research output.

The Committee consists of:
- Robert Adler (Haifa, Israel), appointed by IMS
- Peter Taylor (Melbourne, Australia), appointed by ICIAM
- John Ewing   (Providence, USA), appointed by IMU.

The Committee is expected to create a summary of its findings to be
endorsed by the Executive Committees of ICIAM, IMS, and IMU and to be
published afterwards.

ICIAM, IMS, and IMU have formulated an aspirational charge to help set
direction rather than prescribe the final outcome of the committee's
work, see
http://www.mathunion.org/Publications/2007/Charge-ComOnQuantAssessmRes070521.pdf
http://www.mathunion.org/Publications/News.html

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3. IMU ON THE WEB

Spanish Digital Mathematics Library, Vlib MATH, Beyond Escher, Impact, and ...

Our colleagues in Spain launch a beautiful website displaying their
digitisations of a wide collection of major journals.  The DML-E
project offers full-text access to all articles published from 1980
... Because the journals are commercial publications,  their editors
apply a moving wall policy: meaning that universal access is allowed
to the full-text articles except for those of very recent publication.
For articles behind the moving wall (generally those published in the
past year), only abstracts are accessible unless the user has a
subscription to that  journal.

Katharina Habermann reports development of the Virtual Library of
Mathematics of the SUB Goettingen, a portal which will offer search of
and access to link-collections, library catalogs, journals, other
databases, and customised search engines allowing Google to give
greater relevance weight to mathematical sites.

I point to a site of interest to Escher enthusiasts, note the
phenomenon of a publisher of science fiction offering its readers free
access to its back list, and qualify remarks I made at the end of May.

The drive towards more transparency and accountability in the academic
world has created a "culture of numbers" in which institutions and
individuals believe that fair decisions can be reached by algorithmic
evaluation of some statistical data; unable to measure quality (the
ultimate goal), decision-makers replace quality by numbers that they
can measure. This trend calls for comment from those who
professionally "deal" with numbers --- mathematicians and
statisticians.  A small group jointly appointed by the IMU, ICIAM, and
the IMS is preparing suitable such "comment".

... find relevant URLs and more on these matters at
http://www.ceic.math.ca/News/IMUonWeb.shtml#CEIC21

Alf van der Poorten (alfATmaths.usyd.edu.au), member of the CEIC

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4. NEWS FROM ICMI

- ICME-11 FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT
Information concerning the Eleventh International Congress on
Mathematics Education (ICME-11) in Monterrey, Mexico (6-13 July 2008).
See
http://icme11.org/node/12

- ICMI AWARDS
The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) has
created two awards in mathematics education research :
.  the Hans Freudenthal Award, for a major programme of research on
mathematics education,
.  the Felix Klein Award, for lifelong achievement in mathematics
education research,

An ICMI Awards Committee has been appointed. The President of ICMI has
appointed professor Mogens Niss (Denmark) to chair this committee, the
other members of which are anonymous until their terms have come to an
end.

The two 2005 awards went to Professors Ubiratan D'Ambrosio (Brazil)
(the Klein Award) and Paul Cobb (USA) (the Freudenthal Award).
These awards and the 2007 awards will formally be presented to the
recipients at the opening ceremony of ICME-11, to be held in
Monterrey, México, in July 2008.

The ICMI Awards Committee is now entering a third cycle of selecting
awardees for 2007. The result of this process will be known by the end
of 2007. As was the case for the first two cycles, the ICMI Awards
Committee welcomes suggestions coming from the mathematics education
community in addition to wishing this information to be widely
distributed.

Nominations of candidates for the Felix Klein or the Hans Freudenthal
Awards have to be accompanied by summaries presenting the persons
nominated and the reasons for the nomination. Moreover, nominations
also have to include the names and coordinates of two or three persons
whom the committee may contact for further information.

All proposals must be sent by e-mail to Mogens Niss (mn@ruc.dk) no
later than by 15 November 2007.


- A MEDAL FOR H. BASS
The White House named 11 scholars among the 13 winners of the 2006
National Medals of Science, the US highest scientific honor. The prize
recognizes achievement in the physical, biological, mathematical,
social, behavioral, and engineering sciences.
President Bush has presented the medals for 2006, as well as the
medals for 2005, at a White House ceremony on 27 July.
Hyman Bass, past president of ICMI, professor of mathematics and
mathematics education at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, has
received the prize in mathematics and the computer sciences for establishinga
branch of mathematics known as "algebraic K-theory."


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5. SHAW PRIZE

the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences has been awarded on 12 June 2007.
The Shaw Prize goes in equal shares to Prof. Robert Langlands
(Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) and Prof. Richard Taylor
(Harvard University) for initiating and developing a grand unifying
vision of mathematics that connects prime numbers with symmetry.

More details on the website :
www.shawprize.org.


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6. SUBSCRIBING TO IMU-NET

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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: http://www.mathunion.org/Publications/Newsletter/archive/ -> back to contents