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IMU-Net 1: September 2003

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

Welcoming Message

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first issue of IMU-Net, the electronic newsletter of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The newsletter aims to improve communication between IMU and the worldwide mathematical community, by reporting decisions and recommendations of IMU, and highlighting issues that are under discussion. In addition, IMU-Net will report on major international mathematical events and developments, and on other topics of general mathematical interest. Feedback from readers and mathematical societies is welcome.

IMU is very grateful to Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel for agreeing to act as Editor of the newsletter.

In order to receive further issues of IMU-Net, which is free of charge, you need to subscribe to it using one of the simple methods described below. I warmly encourage you to do so.

John Ball

International Mathematical Union

Executive Committee Meeting in April 2003

The 71st meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) of the IMU was held in Princeton, USA, on 2-3 April 2003. Among the items on the agenda were:

Program Committee of ICM 2006: Noga Alon (Israel) was named chair of the Program Committee for the next International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM 2006), that will take place in Madrid, Spain, 22-30 August 2006.

World Directory of Mathematicians (WDM): the WDM has served a very useful purpose for many decades, but because of the cost of production and the lack of sales of the directory, the EC of IMU has decided to discontinue publication. Therefore, the 12th Edition of the WDM will be the last edition. In order to make the final edition available to as many people as possible, the IMU, through the American Mathematical Society (AMS), will discount the price from US $70.00 to US $35.00 per copy (no further discounts apply). This sale extends through 31 December 2003. For further information and online ordering please refer to the AMS website at:

Construction of slates: a discussion of the future procedure for construction of slates for the elections at the General Assembly was started - a detailed proposal will be put forth at the 2004 EC meeting.

Commission for Development and Exchange (CDE): the EC agreed to form a subcommittee to advise it on what changes are needed so that IMU can effectively increase its support for mathematics in developing countries. (The subcommittee has reported, and their proposals are being considered by the EC.) For information about the work of the CDE, visit

The next Executive Committee meeting will be held in Oxford, UK, on 23-24 April 2004

ICM 2006 in Madrid, Spain

The next International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM 2006) will take place in Madrid, Spain, 22-30 August 2006. The first circular letter and call for on-line preregistration will be launched at the end of September.

For information, click on

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is being launched

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a new educational centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The goals of AIMS are

  • to promote mathematics and science in Africa
  • to recruit and train talented students and teachers
  • to build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.

The Institute will initially focus on a one-year, postgraduate course covering many of the most exciting areas of modern science, taught by outstanding African and international lecturers. The course will aim to develop strong mathematical and computing problem-solving skills and will lead to a Post-graduate Diploma in the Mathematical Sciences, formally accredited by the three partner South African Universities and endorsed by the Faculty of Mathematics of the University of Cambridge, UK. Students with good mathematics, science or engineering degrees are being recruited from across Africa and will be supported on bursaries where needed.

For more information, visit

Jean-Pierre Serre awarded the first Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2003 to the French mathematician Jean-Pierre Serre, "for playing a key role in shaping the modern form of many parts of mathematics, including topology, geometry and number theory." The award was presented by King Harald V of Norway on 3 June 2003 at the University of Oslo. Among the events were the Prizewinner's Abel Lecture on "Prime numbers, equations and modular forms" and the Abel Symposium, with lectures on topics related to Serre's work. There was also a "Maths Carnival" for school children, at which Serre presented prizes to the winners of mathematics competitions. The Abel Prize, established by the Norwegian Goverment in 2002 and awarded annually, is an international prize for outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics. The Prize carries a cash award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (about US $ 800,000).

For more about the Abel Prize and about Jean-Pierre Serre, visit

Bourbaki Anniversary

On 12 July 2003, a slab commemorating the first Bourbaki congress ("Birth of Nicolas Bourbaki"!) was unveiled at a ceremony at the Besse en Chandesse biological station of the University Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand, France), in the presence of A. Bouvier, Recteur d'Académie, and André Gay, Mayor of Besse. The ceremony was preceded by a lecture of Professor Christian Houzel and followed by an exhibition about the life and work of N. Bourbaki. The first congress of the Bourbaki group was held in Besse en Chandesse from 10-17 July 1935. The Bourbaki seminar is still active today. It meets four times a year at the Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris, France and offers lectures given by eminent French and foreign mathematicians in various active areas of mathematics.

For more about Bourbaki, see:

For a bibliography, see:

Subscribing to IMU-Net

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Previous issues can be seen here.