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IMU-Net 5: May 2004

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

From the Editor

Dear Reader,

In this issue, you will find the main decisions taken at the last meeting of the IMU Executive Committee held in Oxford (UK) from 23-24 April.
Note that IMU is launching a competition for a logo. Do not hesitate to submit your contribution!
I also would like to remind you that your reactions to IMU-Net help us to improve the content.
All your feedback will be appreciated.

Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel

News from the IMU

The 71st Meeting of the IMU Executive Committee was held in Oxford from 23-24 April 2004.

New EC member
The Oxford meeting was the first to be attended by Victor Vassiliev (Moscow), who has been coopted to the Executive Committee, following a procedure in the Statutes, to fill the vacancy arising from the death of Andrey Bolibruch. The EC agreed to recommend to Adhering Organizations that Vassiliev be formally elected in a postal ballot. This proposal is supported by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Prize committees
The chairs of the prize committees at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in 2006 were decided as follows. Fields Medal Committee: President of the IMU, John Ball (Oxford University)
Nevanlinna Prize Committee: Margaret Wright (Courant Institute, New York)
Gauss Prize Committee: Martin Grötschel (Zuse Institute, Berlin)
The names of the other members of these committees will only be made public after the ICM 2006.

Developing countries
The EC decided to create a Developing Countries Strategy Group in order to increase its involvement in mathematics in developing countries. Moreover, in cooperation with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste (Italy), Sharon Laurenti of ICTP has been appointed to a part-time administrative position for IMU, to support the Commission for Development and Exchanges and the Strategy Group, and in particular efforts to increase external funding for developing country activities. IMU is very pleased to have been awarded such a grant for 2004 by the Norwegian Abel Fund.

The EC decided to present to the General Assembly 2006 a proposal for a change in the IMU Statutes that will expand the EC membership by one person. The purpose of the change is to allow for a greater diversity of people on the EC. The EC will also look into the possibility of enabling countries to become `Associate Members' of IMU as a first step towards full membership. Finally, the EC will propose a new way of constructing slates for the elections at the General Assembly via independent Nominating Committees, and will operate the new system informally for the 2006 General Assembly -- this will be described more fully in the next issue of IMU-Net.

Logo competition

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) is sponsoring a competition for a logo for IMU. Guidelines:

  1. All submissions must be made electronically to by 20 February 2005. No mail submissions will be considered
  2. All submissions must be original artwork, and the design chosen becomes the property of IMU to be used and adapted for IMU publications, website, and merchandise and in any other manner determined by IMU.
  3. IMU will make the final decision, which cannot be appealed.
  4. The creator of the chosen design will receive an expense-paid trip to the International Congress of Mathematicians 2006 in Madrid, Spain, 22-30 August 2006. The award will consist of one economy airfare, local accommodations, including hotel and food, and congress registration, up to a total reimbursement not to exceed US $3,000. The recipient will be responsible for all reservations.

Please address any inquiries regarding this competition to:

IMU on the Web

The IMU Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) resolved at its most recent meeting that its activities should emphasise assisting the mathematical community to inform itself on electronic and information issues. IMU on the Web, Communications and Information from the CEIC, will appear in each IMU-Net newsletter and will be accompanied by additional commentary and links. Some will be invited signed opinions and some will come from the CEIC itself. They intend to stimulate interest in and debate about electronic matters. Our first piece, see
written by the CEIC for IMU-NET 4, was on the vexing problem of Journal pricing.

It'd be great to be able to google snippets of mathematical formulas as readily as we can now find text. In practice, however, the differing representations of mathematics on the web creates serious obstacles. The recent 'IMA "Hot Topics" Workshop: Enhancing the Searching of Mathematics' was occasion to explore these matters, to suggest standards, and to formulate policies. Robert Miner and Michael Doob summarise the issues at
and report in more detail on the workshop at

International Council on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM)

What on earth is the International Council on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (or ICIAM)? The Editor of IMU-Net has invited me to try to explain this to you.
If you have heard the acronym ICIAM, it was most likely in connection with the Congresses that are held every four years under this banner (but with ICIAM this time standing for the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics). The first ICIAM was held in Paris in 1987. Since then congresses have been held in Washington 1991, Hamburg 1995, Edinburgh 1999, and Sydney 2003. The next ICIAM will be held in Zurich in July 2007. The ICIAMs have provided a showcase for the best work in the contemporary applications of mathematics, in all of their extraordinary richness and variety.
The 1987 ICIAM in Paris took place under the auspices of four of the world's leading applied mathematics societies: GAMM (Germany), IMA (United Kingdom), SIAM (USA), and SMAI (France). That and subsequent congresses were controlled by a committee of leaders of a growing band of applied mathematics societies. That committee was called CICIAM,for Committee for International Congresses in Industrial and Applied Mathematics. A major development took place in 1999, when CICIAM reconstituted itself as a Council, the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. This change reflected a growing sense within the governing body, that with its member societies representing a good proportion of all of the world's mathematicians with an interest in applications, it had a responsibility to foster the world-wide development of mathematics in application. The first President of the new Council was Reinhard Mennicken. He and his successor, Olavi Nevanlinna, presided over another substantial change, namely the concept of 'Associate Member'. This new membership category allowed membership to the many societies which, though not 'primarily' concerned with applications, nevertheless have a 'significant' interest in applications. The first Associate Member was the London Mathematical Society.
By now there are 17 full Members of ICIAM and 5 Associate Members. And the numbers are certain to grow, given that four new applications for one or other class of membership are being considered by the ICIAM Board (consisting of representatives of the member societies) at its current annual meeting in Zurich in May.
Although ICIAM is very different in its structure from IMU (whose mambers are in essence nations, not societies), it was recognised from the beginning that many of the aims of ICIAM and the IMU are the same, and that cooperation should be the keyword. As an example of this cooperation, the ICIAM Board last year formally adopted the 'Best Practices' document of the IMU's Committee on Electronic Information and Communication. Proposals for a joint activity of the two international organisations in a developing nation are now being studied. If you are a member of a society which is not in the ICIAM family, I invite you to encourage the leaders of your society to refer to the ICIAM web site, at or to contact me directly.

Ian H. Sloan
President of ICIAM

ICMI 2004 awards

The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), has, for the first time in its history, established prizes recognizing outstanding achievement in mathematics education research. The Felix Klein Medal, named for the first president of ICMI (1908-1920), honors a lifetime achievement.
The Hans Freudenthal Medal, named for the eigth president of ICMI (1967-1970), recognizes a major cumulative program of research. These awards are to be made in each odd numbered year, with presentation of the medals, and invited addresses by the medalists at the following International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME).
The awards represent the judgment of an (anonymous) jury of distinguished scholars of international stature, chaired by Prof. Michéle Artigue of the University Paris 7.
The Felix Klein Medal for 2003 is awarded to Guy Brousseau, Professor Emeritus of the University Institute for Teacher Education of Aquitaine in Bordeaux, for his lifetime development of the theory of didactic situations, and its applications to the teaching and learning of mathematics.
The Hans Freudenthal Medal for 2003 is awarded to Celia Hoyles, Professor at the Institute of Education of the University of London, for her seminal research on instructional uses of technology in mathematics education.
Presentation of the medals, and invited addresses of the medalists, will occur at ICME-10 in Copenhagen, July 4-11, 2004.

Miguel de Guzman

We are saddened by the death of Miguel de Guzman on 14 April 2004.
He was President of ICMI from 1991 to 1998.
An obituary of Miguel de Guzman is posted on the web page of the Royal Spanish Society of Mathematics

Experiencing Mathematics

Following the World Mathematical Year 2000 programme launched by IMU, UNESCO is supporting a travelling exhibition on mathematics aimed at improving the image of mathematics among the general public. Among the main sponsors are ICMI, IMU and Centre.Sciences from Orléans (France).
The first venue of the exhibition will be at the International Congress of Mathematical Education (ICME10), 4-11 July 2004 in Copenhagen (Denmark) Later on, in partnership with the City of Paris, the exhibition will be held from 9 December 2004 to 14 January 2005 in the Maison des Métallos in Paris (France)
For more information, see :

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Previous issues can be seen here.