IMU-Net 52: March 2012

IMU-Net 52: March 2012A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical UnionEditor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, FranceCONTENTS1. Editorial2. News from IMU3. IMU on the Web4. Perspectives on mathematical publishing5. 2011 ICMI Medalists6. Abel Prize 20127. Ingrid Daubechies, winner of the 2011 Okawa Prize8. Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE 2013)9. Subscribing to IMU-Net------------------------------------------------------------------------1. EDITORIAL: Mathematical Congress of the AmericasThe first MCA will take place in August 5-9, 2013 in the charming city ofGuanajuato, Mexico, one of the oldest in the Americas and once the world'sleading silver extraction center. The Congress started as an initiative ofsix major mathematical organizations in the continent:AMS, the national mathematical societies of Brazil (SBM), Canada (CMS)and Mexico (SMM), SIAM, and UMALCA - Mathematical Union forLatin America and the Caribbean.Continental/regional mathematical congresses are not unheard of, of course.Best known are the European Congress of Mathematicians and theLatin American Congress of Mathematicians, both of which are being heldthis year, respectively, in Krakow, Poland and Cordoba, Argentina.But the challenges are perhaps even bigger for the Mathematical Congress ofthe Americas, in this most diverse of continents, mathematically andotherwise.Indeed, the Congress aims not only to highlight the excellence of mathematicalachievements in the Americas, within the context of the international arena,but also to foster the scientific integration of all mathematical communitiesin the continent.Preparations to ensure that MCA2013 will achieve these goals are wellunder way.Plenary and invited speakers have been selected by the Program Committee.Calls have been issued for special session proposals, includingsessions associated to Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE2013), aswell as for nominations to the Prizes created by the MCA organizers.Funds are being raised to support the participation of students andmathematicians. More information can be obtained at the Congress websitewww.mca2013.orgMarcelo VianaVice President of IMU Executive Committee-------------------------------------------------------------------------2. NEWS FROM IMU-  As of February 2012, Algeria is a Member of the InternationalMathematical Union. For more information on Algeria's AdheringOrganization see www.smath.dz- Electronically available books about IMUWith the kind permission of Springer Verlag O. Lehto’s book“Mathematics without borders: A history of the International MathematicalUnion” has been scanned and is now made freely available on IMU’S  website:www.mathunion.org/ICM/. One can can download the pdf and djvu filesof the book directly as follows: The pdf file (97 MB) is atwww.mathunion.org/ICM/Lehto/Lehto_Mathematics_Without_Borders/Lehto_Mathematics_Without_Borders.pdfand that of the djvu file (31 MB)atwww.mathunion.org/ICM/Lehto/Lehto_Mathematics_Without_Borders/Lehto_Mathematics_Without_Borders.djvuSimilarly, the book “International Mathematical Congresses: An IllustratedHistory 1893 – 1986” by D. J. Albers, G. L. Alexanderson, C. Reid publishedby Springer Verlag is electronically available atwww.mathunion.org/ICM/.The direct links to the electronic files are:www.mathunion.org/ICM/History/history.ocr.pdfwww.mathunion.org/ICM/History/history.ocr.djvThe sizes of these file are, 33 MB and 14 MB, respectively.------------------------------------------------------------------------3. IMU ON THE WEB-  World Digital Mathematics Library (WDML)From June 1-3, 2012 the symposium "The Future World Heritage DigitalMathematics Library: Plans and Prospects" will take place at theNational Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. The symposium isorganized by IMU's Committee on Electronic Information andCommunication (CEIC) that, thus, continues to play a leading role inpromoting the establishment of a World Digital Mathematics Library.The goal of the meeting is to develop a viable plan of action torealize the vision of a universally accessible library for the world'smathematics literature of all time.- An invitation to use MathJaxThe use of  mathematical equations in a web page has always beenchallenging. The first attempts used the standard (ASCII) characters toimitate mathematics so expressions like x^2+y^2=z^2 could be understood.As LaTeX came into vogue, it was used as an encoding of mathematics sothat expressions like $\int_{-\infty}^\infty e^{-x^2} dx=\sqrt{\pi}$,while not directly viewable, could at least be interpreted by thosesufficiently familiar with LaTeX syntax. The next stage of developmentinvolved the insertion of graphic files into the web page. Mathematicstext in LaTeX format would be specially denoted, and each suchsnippet would be sent through LaTeX with the output being convertedto a graphics format that could then be inserted into the page. Thisdid allow recognizable mathematics, but it was not without drawbacks:the mathematics would not resize when the page was zoomed resultingin mismatched font sizes between text and mathematicals, and thegraphics could not reshape themselves if the page dimensions changed.The arrival of MathJax completely changed this situation.  The differentapproach is to have the computer supporting the browser use JavaScriptto draw the mathematics on the page. This allows a very accuratepresentation, with no jaggies (visible pixelation) associated withgraphic insertions. It also allows greater access to the things thatthe browser does best: resizing and reflowing for example.Want to see if it works with your browser? If you're connected to the net,take the little snippet of HTML code following this paragraph and put itinto a file on your computer.  Then open the file with your browser. Ifall goes well, you will have a centred equation which will remain centredif you change the width of the display. Also, the mathematics will remainperfectly rendered and crisp as you zoom in.<head><script type="text/javascript"src="http://cdn.mathjax.org/mathjax/latest/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS_HTML"></script></head><body>Here is a special equation:$e^{i\pi}+1=0$The five most important mathematical constants, all in one!</body>A picture is really worth a thousand words. The adventurous might wantto replace the equation in the example with their own favourite, or takethe LaTeX example from the first paragraph and see how (beautifully)it appears. There are (intentional) limitations to MathJax. It isdesigned to renderpieces of mathematics rather than complete bodies of text. The browseritself is capable of rendering text quickly, so let it do what it isgood at. Don't expect to take your favourite LaTeX paper and just dropit into MathJax. It won't work.Another limitation is the time it takes JavaScript to render themathematics. A complicated page with lots of symbols can take manyseconds to be completely viewable, especially on a slow computer, so,whenever possible, keep pages short and not too complicated.Even with these limitations, the range and beauty of LaTeX nowdisplayed by MathJax is impressive.  With the newest version, all of theconstructions from the amsmath package, as well as all of the amssymbolsare available. In addition, it is possible to use automatic linenumbering and some referencing features, just as in LaTeX.Michael Doob------------------------------------------------------------------------4. PERSPECTIVES ON MATHEMATICAL PUBLISHINGFollowing a remark by Tim Gowers on his blog, a grassroots movementemerged in which (as of April 2, 2012) almost 9,000 researchers areparticipating, in a variety of fields; almost 1,700 are mathematicians.More information can be found on thecostofknowledge.com, and theStatement of Purpose (SoP) accessible from the website. For themoment, the IMU is in constant liaison with this group, but it is nottaking a position on the issue. More precisely, the 4 members of theExecutive Committee (EC) who have signed the SoP did this asindividuals, not as representatives of the IMU. Nevertheless, the IMUand its EC are following the development with interest, and hope thatthe protest, as expressed in the SoP, against some practices bypublishers of mathematical journals, will ultimately lead tonegotiations and changes of these practices that will benefit thewhole mathematical community.More about this in the next IMU-Net issue.Ingrid DaubechiesPresident of IMU Executive Committee---------------------------------------------------------------------5. 2011 ICMI MEDALISTSThe ICMI (International Commission for Mathematical Instruction) AwardCommittee has decided on the Medalists for 2011. They are:*Felix Klein Medal for lifetime achievement:Alan H. Schoenfeld, University of California at Berkeley, USA,in recognition of his more than thirty years of sustained, outstandinglifetime achievements in mathematics education research and development.*Hans Freudenthal Medal for a major cumulative programme of research:Luis Radford, Université Laurentienne, Sudbury, Canada,in recognition of the theoretically well-conceived and highly coherentresearch programme over the past two decades which has had asignificant impact on the community.www.mathunion.org/icmi/A. Schoenfeld and L. Radford will be honoured at ICME-12 in Seoul.------------------------------------------------------------------------6. ABEL PRIZE 2012The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the AbelPrize for 2012 to Endre Szemerédi (Alfréd Rényi Institute ofMathematics, Budapest and Department of Computer Science, Rutgers, USA).He receives the Abel Prize for his fundamental contributions todiscrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and inrecognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributionson additive number theory and ergodic theory.The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils ChristianStenseth, announced the winner of the 2012 Abel Prize at the Academy in Oslotoday, 21 March. Endre Szemerédi will receive the Abel Prize from His MajestyKing Harald at an award ceremony in Oslo on 22 May.The Abel Prize recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth andinfluence to the mathematical sciences and has been awarded annuallysince 2003. It carries a cash award of NOK 6,000,000 (close to EUR800,000 or USD 1 million).More information onwww.abelprize.no/en------------------------------------------------------------------------7. INGRID DAUBECHIES, WINNER OF THE 2011 OKAWA PRIZEIngrid Daubechies, President of IMU, is awarded the 2011 Okawa Prizefor outstanding contributions to the theory and applications ofwavelets. The "Okawa Prize Commemorative Symposium 2011" took place onMarch 16 2012 in Tokyo.--------------------------------------------------------------------------8. MATHEMATICS OF PLANET EARTH 2013 (MPE 2013)The MPE2013 website (www.mpe2013.org) now highlights several thematicprograms organized by institutes, as well as a series of workshops andsummer schools that will take place around the world.Several societies or unions have decided to celebrate MPE2013 duringtheir annual or regional meetings, including AMS, CMS (Canada), MAA,SMAI, CELMEC, IAMG, IUGG, and more may still decide to do so.The Mathematics of Planet Earth Competition for an open sourceexhibition of virtual modules is part of the world initiative“Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013” (MPE2013).The modules submitted to the competition will be part of a permanentMathematics of Planet Earth Open Source Exhibition of Virtual Modules.The modules could be reproduced and utilized by many users around theworld from science museums to schools, under a Creative Commons license.Examples of modules or themes to be covered are available on the website.The competition is open till September 15, 2012.www.mpe2013.org/competitionSpecial issues of magazines on MPE will be produced and distributed inthe schools, including Accromath and Pi in the Sky in Canada. Exchangeand translations of articles are encouraged.An MPE-Newsletter is published every two months. You can subscribe onthe MPE 2013 website: www.mpe2013.org-------------------------------------------------------------------------9. SUBSCRIBING TO IMU-NETThere are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:1. Click on www.mathunion.org/IMU-Net with a Web browser andgo to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to IMU-Net online.2. Send an e-mail to imu-net-request@mathunion.org with the Subject-line:Subject: subscribeIn both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscriptionso that misuse will be minimized. IMU will not use the list of IMU-Netemails for any purpose other than sending IMU-Net, and will notmake it available to others.Previous issues can be seen at:www.mathunion.org/imu-net/archive/