IMU is an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organization, with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and has endorsed repeatedly ICSU's Principle of Freedom, Responsibility & Universality of Science.
The objectives of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) are:
More precise objectives and detailed Information about the organization of IMU can be found in its statutes (and of course in the IMU server that you are currently visiting). Legally, IMU is an unincorporated association, recognized as a charitable organization by the internal revenue service of Berlin, Germany (Finanzamt Berlin-Charlottenburg). Ongoing activities concerning IMU are published in IMU Bulletins and in the bimonthly newsletter IMU-Net to which everybody can subscribe.
There are several publications about the International Mathematical Union.
produced for, and displayed at the ICSU General Assembly in Rome, September 2011.
John Ball, president of IMU for the period 2003-2006, provides a general survey on the work of IMU:
published in "Notices of the AMS", Volume 52, Number 10, 2005. Further information about IMU and the state of mathematics can be found in an
that John Ball gave to Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Matemática Aplicada 33(2005)19-26.
IMU's former president David Mumford, 1995 - 1998, and Allyn Jackson, Senior Writer and Deputy Editor of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, described the work and structure of IMU in the column »What is IMU?«, published in the Notices of AMS, Nov./Dec. 1994.
The articles are reproduced here under permission.
In IMU Bulletin 39, 1995, Olli Lehto, IMU Secretary from 1983 to 1990, gives a short overview about
Olli Lehto has also written the book "Mathematics without borders, a history of the International Mathematical Union" (a 97 MB pdf file), published by Springer in 1998, that is warmly recommended to those interested in the history of IMU.
The book "An Illustrated History 1893-1986" (a 33 MB pdf file) by D. J. Albers, G. L. Alexanderson, C. Reid informes about the International Congresses of Mathematicians.
Both books are electronically available for free by kind permission of Springer Verlag.
A fresh look at this history is provided by Mathematicians of the World, Unite! The International Congress of Mathematicians — A Human Endeavor by Guillermo P. Curbera.
The Web page "Historic IMU/ICM Digital Material: Proceedings, Videos, Books" provides a lot of IMU/ICM documents electronically, all free of charge.