A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, Université René Descartes, Paris, France
From the Editor
This is now the first issue sent to people who have subcribed to IMU-Net. I thank you for your interest and confidence. As the Editor, I am pleased that many readers have sent letters asking questions or commenting on initiatives such as the EWDM. By the way, this important topic will be treated in subsequent issues.
In this issue we describe the work of the two Affiliated Members of IMU, the EMS and UMALCA, and of two of the Commissions of IMU, CDE and ICMI. In later issues we will continue to give such information, together with topics of interest for the mathematical community.
I hope you enjoy reading IMU-Net!
European Mathematical Society (EMS)
The European Mathematical Society was founded in 1990. The Society has some 2500 individual members. Most national mathematical societies and many research institutes of the countries within Europe, both East and West, are institutional members. The Society stimulates the organisation of various mathematical meetings, in particular the European Congress that meets every fourth year, Summer Schools, EMS Lectures, 'Diderot Forums', and joint meetings with other societies. The Society has a broad definition of 'Europe', not limited to the European Union, but an important part of the Society's function is to represent European mathematicians in Brussels and try to ensure that the European Union's scientific research initiatives give proper support to mathematics. We also seek to influence other international bodies such as the European Science Foundation and UNESCO.
The Society provides some travel support for Eastern European mathematicians and also tries to improve the situation for mathematics in developing countries. It has subcommittees on applied mathemtics, raising public awareness, women in mathematics, and mathematics education. It supports Zentralblatt. Through its website http://www.emis.de
library of journals is available electronically. Its publications include the Journal of the European Mathematical Society and the quarterly EMS Newsletter. The Society has recently created its own publishing house http://www.ems-ph.org/
wned by a distinct European Mathematical Foundation. Still in its early stages, the publishing house aims to become a major player on the European mathematical scene. For further information about EMS, visit our website.
The fourth European Congress of Mathematics (4ECM) will take place in Stockholm (Sweden), 27 June-2 July 2004. For information, see: http://www.math.kth.se/4ecm/
Sir John Kingman
President of EMS
Mathematical Union of Latin America and the Caribbean (UMALCA)
The Mathematical Union of Latin America and the Caribbean, was founded in Rio de Janeiro on July 26, 1995 with the aim to foster the development of Mathematics across the whole continent, improving teaching and research conditions, sponsoring scientific meetings, and promoting the exchange of graduate students and researchers in the region. In 2001 UMALCA joined the International Mathematical Union as an affiliate member. Information about the leadership, membership, and structure of UMALCA can be found on its web site:
Since the very beginning, UMALCA has been most active in promoting the exchange of talented young researchers within Latin America. Calls for travel grant applications are issued three times a year. Applicants selected by the Scientific Council have their travel expenses to carry out scientific research or attend a meeting in another country in the region covered by the Union This program is greatly contributing to enhancing scientific collaboration between Latin American research groups.
Another major activity is the organization of scientific meetings. Since 1999, UMALCA has taken over the responsibility for the Latin American School of Mathematics (ELAM), a traditional event in the region that is now held on a regular basis every third year. The most recent edition took place in Cartagena, Colombia in 2002. It focused on PDEs, and attracted about 100 students and researchers. The next ELAM should be held in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2005. The Latin American Congress of Mathematicians, held by UMALCA every fourth year, is the main scientific meeting in Mathematics in the whole region. It includes plenary lectures and parallel sessions, as well as mini-courses, at the very highest level.
The first Congress was held at IMPA in Rio de Janeiro in the year 2000, and was attended by some 800 participants from all over the world. Preparation for the second Congress http://www.matmor.unam.mx/eventos/latino/ to take place in Cancun, Mexico, in June 20-26, 2004 is well on its way, and a scientific success comparable to that of the first edition is expected. Just as important, UMALCA also organizes more elementary mathematical schools, the Emalcas, aimed primarily at Central America and the Caribbean. The Emalcas have been held every year since 2001, alternately in Mexico and in Venezuela, benefiting from the structure existing in those countries to attract students from the whole sub-region. Starting from 2004, this program will be greatly expanded to enhance its regional reach, by having other smaller Emalcas held in various countries, with the participation of students from the host country and its neighbors. Bolivia, Cuba, and Costa Rica are among the countries where such schools should be held in the near future.
The Union is also actively concerned with the problem of raising the level and quality of mathematical teaching throughout the continent. An important contribution was the organization of an international conference on mathematical education in Mexico City, in February 2002, jointly with the Mexican Academy of Sciences. Moreover, a committee on mathematical education is being set to conduct the Union's further activities in this direction. Another important service to the mathematical community is the ongoing creation of the Directory of Mathematicians in Latin America and the Caribbean, at the web site
The main goal is to help design a global picture of Mathematics in the continent, besides being the basis for the contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean to the IMU's World Directory of Mathematicians.
Coordinator of the Scientific Council of UMALCA
Commission on Development and Exchanges (CDE)
IMU initiative toward mathematics and mathematicians in developing countries.
For the last 20 year the International Mathematical Union has maintained a standing commission called the Commission on Development and Exchanges (CDE) in order to support research mathematics and mathematicians in developing countries. The current president of CDE is Paulo Cordaro of Brazil and the current secretary/treasurer is Herbert Clemens of the USA. The CDE, with a rotating membership of 10 mathematicians from around the world, accepts and reviews applications for two programs, the Individual Research Travel program and Research Conference Support program. Successful applicants receive partial support for their travel or conference from IMU funds. The annual program budget is about US$35,000. Further information about these programs may be found at the IMU/CDE website http://www.math.ohio-state.edu/CDE
As supported by delegates to the 2002 IMU General Assembly in Shanghai, the IMU Executive Committee, under the leadership of IMU President John Ball, has developed a plan to increase the organization's attention to mathematics and its practitioners, both researchers and educators, in developing countries. Over the last year, an Ad Hoc Committee convened by the IMU's Executive Committee, has met and submitted its recommendations. The plan drafted by the Ad Hoc Committee begins with a recommendation to more than double the budget of the two current programs of its Commission on Development and Exchanges. It also contemplates the naming of a small oversight group charged with
- coordinating the establishment of a data base of mathematical centers and mathematicians in developing countries to facilitate information flow
- increasing professional connections between these individuals/centers and mathematical resources in highly developed regions
- seeking outside funding to further augment IMU investment in mathematics programs in the developing world
- working to achieve stable low or no cost electronic access to the mathematical literature throughout the developing world
The oversight group will also be asked to establish working relationships with the other organizations which support mathematical activity in developing countries, such as the International Center of Theoretical Physics (Italy), CIMPA (Centre International de Math?matiques Pures et Appliqu?es, France), the Japanese Mathematical Society, and others. Also under consideration is a part-time staff position to help administer the expanded IMU program.
Secretary/Treasurer of CDE
International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI)
The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) is a commission of the IMU. Established at the Fourth International Congress of Mathematicians held in Rome in 1908 with the initial mandate of analysing the similarities and differences in the secondary school teaching of mathematics among various countries, ICMI has expanded its objectives and activities considerably over the years. The Commission aims at offering researchers, practitioners, curriculum designers, decision makers and others interested in mathematical education, a forum promoting reflection, collaboration, exchange and dissemination of ideas and information on all aspects of the theory and practice of contemporary mathematical education as seen from an international perspective. ICMI thus takes initiatives in inaugurating appropriate programmes designed to further the sound development of mathematical education at all levels, and to secure public appreciation of its importance. The Commission is also charged with the conduct of the activities of IMU bearing on mathematical or scientific education.
Members of ICMI are those countries which are members of IMU and other countries specifically co-opted to the Commission. Each member of ICMI appoints a Representative and may create a Sub-Commission for ICMI to maintain liaison with the Commission in all matters pertinent to its affairs. ICMI currently has 81 members.
A major event in the life of the international mathematics education community, the quadrennial International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) is held under the auspices of ICMI and typically gather more than three thousand participants from all over the world. Apart from the ICME, the Commission organises or supports various activities, such as the ICMI Study Programme, in which each Study, built around an international seminar, aims at investigating issues or topics of particular significance in contemporary mathematics education and is directed towards the preparation of a published volume intended to promote and assist discussion and action at the international, national, regional or institutional level; the ICMI Regional Conferences, supported by ICMI morally and sometimes financially, in order to facilitate the organisation of regional meetings on mathematics education, especially in less affluent parts of the world; or the ICMI Solidarity Project, aiming at increasing the commitment and involvement of mathematics educators around the world in order to help the furtherance of mathematics education in those parts of the world where there is a need for it that justifies international assistance and where the economic and socio-political contexts do not permit adequate and autonomous development. In addition, ICMI involves itself in other activities on an ad hoc basis. For instance, ICMI has recently reinitiated contacts with UNESCO and established collaboration with ICSU Committee on Capacity Building in Science.
The official organ of ICMI since its inception is the international journal L'Enseignement Math?matique, founded in 1899, see:
Under the editorship of the Secretary-General, ICMI publishes the ICMI Bulletin, appearing twice a year. The Bulletin is accessible on the internet at the address http://www.mathunion.org/ICMI/ where more information about ICMI can also be found.
The principal source of ICMI's finances is the support it receives from the IMU. But one of the greatest strengths of ICMI is the time contributed freely by the hundreds of mathematicians and mathematics educators committed to the objectives of the Commission.
Bernard R. Hodgson
Secretary-General of ICMI
ICME 10: "Early bird" registration ending soon
The 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education, organised under the auspices of ICMI, the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction, is taking place in Copenhagen on July 4-11, 2004. The deadline for early (i.e., least expensive) registration for the Congress is February 28.
New developments in mathematical publishing
As an official satellite conference to the ECM 2004 KTH Stockholm will host a workshop under the title "New Developments in Electronic Publishing of Mathematics - a workshop integrating mathematicians, libraries, editors and publishers". As special activities belonging to the scope of the workshop two events are included: the 5th EMANI workshop, where EMANI stands for Electronic Mathematics Archiving Network Initiative, and the 3rd WDML workshop, where WDML stands for World Digital Mathematics Library. The latter is a continuation of the activities of the DML planning group pursued in 2002/3 and takes place under the umbrella of the IMU. The conference dates will be June 25 to 27, 2004. June 27 also will the first day to register on site for the ECM 4. The conference will be organised by Kari Stange from the Royal Library in Stockholm, Hans Becker from the Lower Saxony State and University Library in Göttingen, and Bernd Wegner from the Technical University in Berlin.
Main topics of the workshop will be: Electronic publishing in mathematics, enhanced authoring and mark-up tools for mathematics, electronic mathematics knowledge management, mathematics in the semantic web, electronic mathematical libraries, web offers in mathematics, search engines for mathematical information, mathematics databases, digitisation of mathematical publications, long-term preservation of digital mathematical documents, access structures to mathematical offers, mathematics portals. A Scientific and Program Committee has been installed, consisting of 13 members so far.
The following schedule is planned for the sessions: Friday, June 25, will care about the EMANI internal meetings, and an open EMANI workshop dealing with digital archiving in mathematics including related topics on long-term preservation and accessibility, metadata,formats and mark-up languages. Saturday, June 26, will offer sessions dealing with electronic publishing, electronic libraries and electronic offers in mathematics on one side, practical aspects of retro-digitisation, and a survey of ongoing and planned digitisation projects on the other side. All general aspects of the WDML not covered before will be subject of the session on Sunday, June 27. This session will be chaired by Alf van der Poorten who represents the IMU.