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IMU-Net 7: September 2004

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


Dear Reader,

With this issue IMU-Net celebrates its first birthday. I hope that you will agree that the newsletter is performing a useful service to the world mathematical community. This success is the result of the expert guidance and hard work of our Editor, Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, with valuable technical assistance from Wolfgang Dalitz.
In this edition the founding of the new Ramanujan Prize is reported. IMU is proud and delighted to be associated with this Prize, and hopes that it will act as an inspiration to young mathematicians working in developing countries. It could not have come into being without the generous support made available to IMU by the Abel Memorial Fund to help mathematics in the developing world, and it further strengthens the growing cooperation between IMU and ICTP with the same objective.
I hope you will continue to read and react to IMU-Net, and encourage those who do not subscribe to do so.

John Ball
President, International Mathematical Union

Nomination Committees update

The new procedures for forming the slates of candidates for the IMU Executive Committee and IMU Commissions were described in IMU-Net 6 (see The Chair of the Nominating Committee for the Executive Committees of IMU, CDE and ICHM is Ludwig Faddeev of the Euler International Mathematical Institute, St Petersburg, Russia. Professor Faddeev was President of IMU from 1987-1990. A call to Adhering Organizations for proposals for members of this Nominating Committee has been made with a deadline of 31 December 2004. A similar call will be made for the ICMI Nominating Committee when its Chair has been chosen.

IMU on the Web

Open access? Paying to write instead of paying to read and, an example of non-optimal practice.

How do *you* go about finding preprints and articles on the web? You do use LaTeX in writing your articles, don't you? Do you maintain a useful homepage? Peter Michor (CEIC) explains at
how *he* uses internet facilities to ease his life as a mathematician. In 'Nature' (Sunday 19 September 2004), John Ewing comments on the orthodoxy of open access; see

An apology: last issue, IMU on the Web referred readers to a fine article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Chronicle Review, February 20, 2004), entirely forgetting that the URL provided becomes inaccessible to non-subscribers a little while after first publication. This oversight was not an example of best practice.

The Fourth European Congress of Mathematics

The Fourth European Congress of Mathematics 4ecm ( was held at Stockholm University at the end of June. During the opening ceremony in the Aula Magna, the winners of the ten ECM prizes:
Frank Barthe
Stefano Bianchini
Paul Biràn
Elon Lindenstrauss
Andrei Okounkov
Sylvia Serfaty
Stanislav Smirnov
Xavier Tolsa
Warwick Tucker
Otmar Venjakob
were announced (for citations see For a change, the announcement was not controversial: the prize committee had managed to award outstanding mathematical achievement by mathematicians aged 35 or less, with a good spread of nationalities and subjects. The Carl-Eric Fröberg prize was awarded to Anna-Karin Tornberg. The Congress was an opportunity to hear about advances across the whole spectrum of mathematics, with a particular emphasis on applications. Taking advantage of the conference’s location, the organising committee had been able to attract two Nobel prizewinners and four other scientists to talk about their work and its link with mathematics.
A further new feature was to hear European network coordinators talk about the mathematical progress achieved by their networks.
My own selection of talks included subjects such as: waves in forest floor bacteria, knots as stable singularities in waves, the development of MRI scanning, evolutionary dynamics, isoperimetric inequalities, quantum chaos, and complexity theory. The conference proceedings will be produced by the EMS Publishing House (, hopefully next spring.
Because of the new features, there were no round table discussions, which had been such a distinctive feature of previous ecms, but it will be open to the organisers of 5ecm to restore them to the programme in Amsterdam in 2008.

David Salinger, EMS Publicity Secretary

Ramanujan Prize

The founding has been announced of the "Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries" by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, in cooperation with IMU, and with support from the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund, Norway.
The Prize will be awarded annually for the highest mathematical achievement by young researchers from developing countries, who conduct their research in a developing country. The recipient must be less than 45 years old. Work in any branch of the mathematical sciences is eligible for the prize. The Prize amount will be $10,000. The goal is to make the selection of the first Prize winner in 2005. Further information will appear on the IMU and ICTP websites.

Call for nominations for the Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters calls for nominations of candidates for the Abel Prize 2005.
The Abel Prize, which was awarded for the first time in 2003, amounts to NOK 6 million (EUR 750.000). It is an international prize for outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics, including mathematical aspects of computer science, mathematical physics, probability, numerical analysis and scientific computing, statistics, and also applications of mathematics in the sciences.

Shaw Prize

The Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences 2004 has been awarded to Professor Shiing-Shen Chern of Nankai University (China).

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Previous issues can be seen here.