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IMU-Net 8: November 2004

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


Dear Reader,

The Executive Committee (EC) is committed to strengthening IMU's support for mathematics research and education in developing countries. In this issue of IMU-Net you will find a report of the first meeting of a newly formed body, the Developing Countries Strategy Group. You will also find short reports on the International Congress of Mathematical Instruction and the Pan African Congress of Mathematics that took place recently.

Another aim of the EC is to establish improved election procedures for IMU. Calls for proposals for the various nominating committees have recently been sent to the Adhering Organizations. Please urge your representatives to respond to these calls! More information can be found on

If you have a suggestion for an item or a piece of news from your part of the world that you think might be of interest to the international mathematical community, please let the editor of IMU-Net know! You can also help us increase the distribution of the newsletter by forwarding this issue to colleagues and encouraging them to subscribe.

Ragni Piene
Member of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union


The 10th International Congress on Mathematical Education was held on the campus of the Technical University of Denmark on July 4-11, 2004. More than 2,300 participants from 120 countries - researchers in mathematics and in mathematics education, teacher trainers and mathematics teachers from all levels of the educational system from primary school to university - discussed new developments in mathematics education as a field of research and practice.

The scientific programme of ICME-10 was composed of a rich mixture of classical, renovated classical, and quite novel innovative components. The classical components comprised Plenary Lectures, a Plenary Panel Debate, Regular Lectures and Topic Study Groups. The renovated classical components included Discussion Groups and Workshops. The novel components were numerous. A Plenary Interview Session, in which four highly prominent mathematics education veterans were interviewed by another prominent scholar, was very well received. Five so-called Survey Teams had worked for three years to survey recent developments in a particular sub-fields of mathematics education. A Thematic Afternoon, Sharing Experiences Groups and Poster Round Tables completed the novel part of the Congress. The Congress displayed an interesting travelling exhibition on mathematical objects and phenomena, Experiencing Mathematics, mounted by UNESCO and ICMI (see: A Mathematical Circus addressing the general public, accompanying persons, and delegates, offered a variety of mathematical acts performed by Congress participants.

Proceedings of the congress will appear early in 2006.
The next ICME, ICME-11 will be held in Mexico in 2008.

PACOM 2004

The 6th Pan-African Congress of Mathematicians took place in Tunisia during the period September 1-6, 2004. The congress, which was preceded by the General Assembly of the African Mathematical Union and the 14th Pan African Mathematical Olympiad, gathered around 300 mathematicians from 60 countries from all over the world. In addition to 12 plenary lectures and 15 parallell sessions, the congress offered

  • a symposium on long distance education, diffusion and circulation of scientific knowledge in Africa,
  • a special session on electronic services to African mathematics
  • a special session on Mathematics Competitions and Prizes.

The first Third World Academy of Science Mathematics Prize, a prize aimed at rewarding talented young African mathematicians, was awarded to Ihsen Yengui from Tunisia. The seventh PACOM, PACOM 2008, will be held in Egypt in 2008.

IMU Developing Countries Strategy Group

The first meeting of the IMU's Developing Countries Strategy Group was held at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, on October 16-17. The group, with representation from the Executive Committee of the IMU, the IMU's Commission on Development and Exchanges, ICMI, and ICTP itself, is responding to a call from IMU President, John Ball, to increase the organization's attention to the needs of mathematics and mathematicians in the many countries of the world which do not have the national development or resources necessary for official IMU membership. DCSG immediately moved to engage mathematical needs and opportunities in the developing world on the basis of a 50,000 USD start-up grant from the Norwegian Abel Fund, with the possibility of subsequent additional Norwegian support. DCSG also moved to gather information about activities of regional and national mathematical societies in support of mathematics in the developing world. Former CDE member Jean-Pierre Gossez is coordinating the information gathering in Europe and will serve as DCSG's European liaison. Offers of cooperation were received from the Mathematical Society of Spain, the London Mathematical Society, and the European Mathematical Society (EMS), as well as from the International Council of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM). CIMPA, EMS, and ICIAM sent observers to the DCSG meeting to present the activities and interests of their organizations in developing countries.

The first order of DCSG business was to move to support the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI), focused on sub-Saharan Africa. AMMSI is one of two recent mathematical initiatives in Africa, the other being the newly founded African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) near Cape Town, South Africa. DCSG authorized 25,000 USD for AMMSI to partially match a 75,000 USD Mellon Foundation grant. The funds will underwrite the first year of AMMSI operation, in which it will pilot programs of assistantships for graduate students at selected PhD programs on the African continent, as well as a program of intensive courses at those centers by highly qualified visiting professors. The AIMS and AMMSI initiatives met in Nairobi, Kenya, in late June, to form a coalition in support of mathematical development on the African continent. AIMS brings graduate students from all over Africa to its Cape Town institute for one year of intensive training and exposure to opportunities in research in the mathematical sciences. AMMSI-supported graduate programs will rotate advanced students through the AIMS. Together the two groups will work with DCSG to create a web-based Clearinghouse for African Mathematics, which will be based at ICTP and be guided by DCSG member and ICTP Head of Mathematics L? Dung Trang.

DCSG also agreed to support the efforts of France's CIMPA to rebuild the mathematical infrastructure in Cambodia, with prospects of cooperation from Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia, several of whom have considerable mathematical resources. A small exploratory support of USD 5000 was given this year, with the prospect of more support in future years. The International Council of Mathematics Instruction (ICMI) is represented in the DCSG by its Vice President Mich?le Artigue. DCSG approved USD 6000 to support the circulation in Africa of the international mathematics exhibition, "Experiencing Mathematics," developed in cooperation with ICMI and being exhibited internationally under ICMI auspices. Sustained funding for the continuation of these efforts must come from the international mathematical community itself, particularly the adhering bodies and national societies in developed countries. Jacob Palis, former IMU President and DCSG member, will lead a DCSG campaign to encourage national mathematical societies in developed countries to incorporate a 'donation to developing country' check-off box on annual membership renewal forms.

Further information about the IMU's Developing Country Strategy Group can be obtained from the group's Administrative Secretary,
Ms. Sharon Laurenti

IMU on the Web

See <> for a detailed version of the brief following notes.


Under the slogan 'Your Research. Your Choice', Springer announces that:

"Springer Open Choice gives you the power to choose how you want your research published. As an author-focused publishing company, Springer believes that authors should have the right to determine what publication model best meets their needs."
Readers will find it interesting to google the phrase "Springer Open Choice" and then to read the details of Springer's offer.


Joseph Esposito agrees that Open Access is a panacea: for the publishers!

Readers will undoubtedly get pleasure from glancing at the fine essay: "The devil you don't know: The unexpected future of Open Access publishing" by Joseph J. Esposito, First Monday, volume 9, number 8 (August 2004), <>.


Steven Harnad <> suggests that the core of the recent UK parliamentary report "Scientific publication: Free for all?" on open access is to mandate self-archiving.

ICM 2006

  1. Proceedings. The Proceedings of the ICM 2006 will be published by the European Mathematical Society Publishing House.
  2. Short communications and Posters. Registered participants will have the opportunity to present their mathematical work in the form of a short communication, a poster, or a contribution on mathematical software. Each short communication will last 20 minutes, including discussion. The Local Program Committee plans to organize a poster competition inside each scientific section. Submission of abstracts will start on January 1, 2006. Abstracts submitted after March 30, 2006, will not be considered. The Local Program Committee will notify authors of acceptance/rejection of their contribution before May 30, 2006. Further information on the organization of short communications, posters, and mathematical software sessions, as well as the Instructions on how to prepare an abstract, will be posted at the home page of the ICM by the end of 2005.
  3. Travel grants and support for local expenses. IMU and the Organizing Committee will award a limited number of travel grants to active young research mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries, and to senior mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries (not necessarily members of IMU) to enable them to attend ICM 2006. The local organizers will cover the grantees' living expenses in Madrid during the Congress. The age limit for the young travel grantees is 35 years at the time of the meeting. *The IMU travel grants, provided by the IMU Special Development Fund, will support travel costs and are intended primarily for young mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries (not necessarily members of IMU). The Organizing Committee will also launch partial support for a limited number of senior mathematicians from Latin America and from developing Mediterranean countries, as well as for young Spanish mathematicians. Applicants are kindly requested to seek travel support from other sources. Spanish grantees may not be more than 32 years old at the time of the congress.

EMS Article Competition

The Committee for Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics of the European Mathematical Society invites professional mathematicians, or others, to submit manuscripts for suitable articles on mathematics for one of two competitions.

Articles for the educated layman
An article must be published, or be about to be published, in an international magazine, or a specialized national magazine, bringing articles on mathematics for an educated public. Articles shall be submitted both in the original language (the published version) and preferably also in an English translation. Articles (translations) may, however, also be submitted in French, German, Italian or Spanish. Deadline for submission to this competition: August 1, 2005.

Articles for the general public
An article must be published, or be about to be published, in a daily newspaper, or some other widely read general magazine, thereby providing some evidence that the article does catch the interest of a general audience. Articles for the competition shall be submitted both in the original language (the published version) and preferably also in an English translation. Articles (translations) may, however, also be submitted in French, German, Italian or Spanish. Deadline for submission to this competition: January 1, 2006.

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Previous issues can be seen here.