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IMU-Net 10: March 2005

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


In recent years the International Mathematical Union has been paying special attention to the promotion of mathematics in developing countries. Mathematical communities in the third world of course welcome the interest taken by IMU and are looking forward to greater interaction with their colleagues in the advanced nations. That there is abundant mathematical talent in the developing countries is seen from the success of some of these countries in the International Mathematical Olympaid competitions as well as from the presence of a large number of students from these countries in the graduate schools in the West.
To transform this talent into excellence in mathematicians in these countries need a lot of exposure to deep and profound mathematics at the frontiers of current research. Individual mathematicians working in advanced nations can contribute very meaningfully to this by visiting mathematical centres in third world countries for extended periods of time giving courses of lectures and otherwise interacting with students and researchers (such visits are taking place but they are far and few between). Short visits are also of course useful but are of limited value. The few centres of excellence which exist in the third world countries indeed owe their success to such help from individuals. One man who rendered yeoman service to this cause in this way was Professor Laurent Schwarz. One hopes that IMU's increased interest in promoting mathematics in the third world will act as a catalyst for increasing this kind of interaction.

Madabusi S. Raghunathan
Member of the IMU Executive Committee

IMU and ICMI Nominating Committees

These Nominating Committees have been formed by the procedures described at and will work to propose nomination slates for officers and members of the IMU and ICMI Executive Committees, of CDE (Commission on Development and Exchanges)and ICHM (International Commission on the History of Mathematics). A formal call for nominations will be sent in the form of a circular letter to the Adhering Organizations of IMU in August 2005.

The members of the IMU Nominating Committee are:

Ludwig Faddeev (Chair, Russia)
John Ball (President IMU, UK)
Christian Berg (Denmark)
Jennifer Chayes (USA)
Gil Kalai (Israel)
Shigefumi Mori (Japan)
Wieslaw Plesniak (Poland)

The members of the ICMI Nominating Committee are:

Mogens Niss, Chair (Denmark)
John Ball, (IMU President, UK)
Hyman Bass (ICMI President, USA)
Victor Vassiliev (Russia)
Tomas Recio (Spain)
Guenter Toerner (Germany)
Lim-Teo Suat Khoh (Singapore)

Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2005 to Peter D. Lax, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.
Peter Lax receives the Abel Prize for his groundbreaking contributions to the theory and application of partial differential equations and to the computation of their solutions.
He is expected to receive the Abel Prize from His Majesty, King Harald V of Norway, in Oslo on May 24th. The honor is accompanied by a prize of $980,000.

The Developing Countries Strategy Group

The Developing Countries Strategy Group (DCSG) was established by IMU in order to augment in kind and duration IMU$B!G(Bs support of mathematics and the study of mathematics in developing countries. In particular, DCSG will be available as a "clearinghouse" for the activities of individual countries and mathematics societies in this direction, in order to enhance the effects of those individual initiatives, and ensure that they complement and reinforce each other. Enthusiastically responding to IMU President John Ball's New Year appeal, committees, member societies and their affiliated bodies have been coming forward with information on their initiatives in developing countries and have been listing opportunities for participation in these efforts. All this is now being publicized on DCSG's website ( (The website is still "under construction", so please excuse any anomalies or omissions.)

Suggestions from readers in the international mathematical community as to opportunities to support mathematicians in the developing world, such as programs of sponsorship of attendance at conferences, research collaborations, visiting lectureship programs, joint degree programs, etc., will be gratefully received, and posted on the website. They may be e-mailed to DCSG's Administrative Secretary at

Another "clearinghouse" website, the Clearinghouse for African Mathematicians (CAM), whose purpose - as its name suggests - is to act as a clearinghouse for activities specifically in support of mathematicians and mathematics educators in Africa, is also in the initial stages of its development under the direction of Professor Le Dung Trang, Head of Mathematics at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), in Trieste, Italy, and may be viewed at

Among its recent initiatives, DCSG has been active in support of the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative, a consortium of centers of advanced mathematics education and research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa. DCSG has also assisted ICTP in the establishment of ICTP$B!G(Bs newly announced Ramanujan Prize for mathematics done in the developing world. The latest initiative to which DCSG has offered support is the First African Regional Congress of the International Council of Mathematics Instruction (ICMI), which will take place at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June this year. Finally, DCSG is about to begin work on the IMU$B!G(Bs travel grant program which funds mathematicians working in developing countries to participate in ICM2006 in Madrid, Spain.

IMU/DCSG gratefully acknowledges major support in 2004 by the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund.

Herb Clemens
Chair of DCSG

IMU on the Web


It's not all that hard to find a mathematician: I imagine that most readers of this item need only look in a mirror. More usefully, in the good old days one could locate virtually any particular mathematician in a fine book, updated quadrennially, the World Directory of Mathematicians. But the WDM will not be compiled and printed in 2006; it has has fallen fate to, well, 'economic and practical considerations'. What to do? It seems pretty obvious what to do. Just create an Electronic WDM ( Sadly, that can't be done. First, such a directory would be in severe breach of many national privacy laws. Second, it anyhow could not just be done --- it's an astonishingly labour intensive matter to create and, much worse, to maintain such lists. Happily, it seems there may be an effective solution ...
Go to and read about early steps towards a Federated World Directory of Mathematicians

Alf van der Poorten
Member of CEIC

ICM 2006

List of the new satellite conferences, approved at the meeting in Madrid (4 March 2005)

  • Associative and non-associative algebraic structures and applications, Oviedo (Asturias), 18-20 August 2006
  • Workshop on Geometric and Topological Combinatorics, Alcalá de Henares, 31 August
  • 5 September 2006
  • Noncommutative Algebra, Granada, 31 August
  • 6 September 2006
  • Mathematical neuroscience, SantJulià de Lòria (Andorra), 1-4 September2006
  • Barcelona Analysis Conference, Barcelona, 4-8 September 2006

Ramanujan Prize

Call for nominations for the Ramanujan Prize.

The Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries is a new prize which will be awarded by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, through a selection committee appointed in conjunction with IMU. The first winner will be announced in 2005. Nominations should be sent no later than 31 July 2005 to:

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Previous issues can be seen here.