IMU-Net 47: May 2011

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


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



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
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

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 ( 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


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

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



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
and via
where further information about the opening ceremony and
more photos can be found.



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 ,
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


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:



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
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
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
( ), you can also write
For more information, see



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"
The Committee provided a list of reliable resources that present relevant
statistical data on women researchers in science.



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