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IMU-Net 13: September 2005

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


Dear reader,

IMU-Net, the electronic newsletter of IMU, has already been in existence for two years. In accordance with the aims of the IMU Executive Committee, it seeks to popularizing the work of IMU among the mathematical community, and to interact with it.

We are happy to welcome two new members who recently joined IMU, Pakistan and Indonesia. I take this opportunity to recall that an important mission of IMU is to promote and encourage mathematical research and education in developing countries, and this issue contains an article by Professor Asghar Qadir, President of the Committee for Pakistan.

I sincerely hope that IMU-Net becomes more and more popular among mathematicians, and that the subscribers to the newsletter become more and more numerous from all over the world.

Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel

Developing Countries Strategy Group (DCSG)

As reported in IMU-Net 10, member societies and their affiliated bodies have been enthusiastically responding to IMU President John Ball's New Year appeal to increase the mathematics community's support for mathematics and the study of mathematics in developing countries. In response, the Chinese Mathematical Society hosted 6 foreign delegates from developing countries at their 70th Anniversary Conference "Mathematics 2005: Opportunity and Challenge", which took place in Weihei, P.R. China, during the interval 25 - 29 July 2005. The delegates comprised mathematicians from Cambodia, Kenya, P.D.R. Lao and Vietnam, as well as two from South Africa.

In addition to local expenses, provided by their Chinese hosts, delegate travel was supported by the mathematical societies of Japan and the USA, as well as the London Mathematical Society, the International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA, France) and the International Science Programme of Uppsala University (Sweden).

The International Mathematical Union and its Developing Countries Strategy Group gratefully acknowledge the generosity and support of all the member societies concerned.


The 14th Latin American school of Mathematics (XIV ELAM) will be held in Solis Resort, Uruguay on 1-9 December 2005.

2005 Ramanujan Prize

Marcelo Viana, Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), Brazil, has been awarded the first-ever Srinivasa Ramanujan Prize.

IMU on the Web: The WDML and the Reference Web

Imagine you publish a mathematical journal (your local Mathematical Society very likely does and, surely, you accept some responsibility for that MS's actions). It seems the in thing to produce electronic versions of journals, and more, to go back and retrodigitize pre-TeX issues. Worse your past TeX issues [or, gf that you allowed it, issues produced by some gfs word-processor] are expected to be internally hyperlinked; particularly their bibliography. Worse yet, apparently you should attach appropriate 'metadata', whatever that is. Why should you bother? It's a costly effort. There are very few of your customers (most likely, customer libraries) that can contemplate paying for your efforts. Offering more and better (i.e. threatening them with extra cost) is more likely to have you cancelled than thanked. Why should you bother? I alluded to expected standards in my previous IMU on the Web remarks ( I give an opinion on 'why we might bother to bother' both there [I have not had a great deal of response to the request for comment on the CEIC draft best practices statement (] and in additional remarks (at Although I am a member of the CEIC of the IMU, the opinions incidentally expressed above (or in the recommended links) are not necessarily the views of any being let alone of any organization.

Alf van der Poorten

Added in Proof: Oops!! Rule 1 of supplying an item to IMU-Net is that it either be complete or that one has actually filled the links. Other commitments (actually: a recently developed addiction to solving Su-dokus, and and the AustMS Annual Meeting I am attending) may mean that the principal link 'Why we might bother to digitize' (the additional remarks at is empty at publication time. If so, I'll have to fill it, eventually, with your advice!

ICM 2006

A. The International Mathematical Union and International Congress of Mathematicians 2006 Local Organizing Committee will award grants to mathematicians to help them attend the ICM2006 in Madrid, Spain, August 22-30, 2006.

Five grant categories have been established:

  1. Young mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries
  2. Senior mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries
  3. Senior mathematicians from Latin America
  4. Senior mathematicians from Mediterranean developing countries
  5. Young Spanish mathematicians

Full details of all five grant categories are available on the ICM2006 website at:

All applications are to be submitted online by January 1, 2006, through the ICM2006 website, as above.
Enquires should be sent to:

B. The Mathematical Society of Japan generously responded to ICM2006 Organizing Committee's appeal for funds for ICM2006 grants with a donation to the IMU Special Development Fund, to enable young mathematicians from developing and economically disadvantaged countries to attend the Congress.

C. The list of the plenary speakers of ICM2006 is :

Percy Deift , Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, USA
Jean-Pierre Demailly , Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
Ronald DeVore , University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA
Yakov Eliashberg , Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Étienne Ghys , École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Lyon, France
Richard Hamilton , Columbia University, New York, USA
Henryk Iwaniec , Rutgers University, Piscataway, USA
Iain Johnstone , Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Kazuya Kato , Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Robert V. Kohn , Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, USA
Ib Madsen , Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Arkadi Nemirovski , Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Sorin Popa , University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Alfio Quarteroni , École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Oded Schramm , Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, USA
Richard P. Stanley , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Terence Tao , University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Juan Luis Vázquez , Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Michèle Vergne , École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France
Avi Wigderson , Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA

A new member country : Pakistan

Mathematics in Pakistan

Pakistan's population of PhDs in Mathematics has been shifting on account of the brain-drain endemic to the Third World, the resident Mathematics community (excluding Statistics and Computer Science) consisting of less than 150 PhDs, despite its population of 150 million. However, 50 years ago there were not even ten! In fact, the PhDs have quadrupled in the last 15 years.
The first indigenous PhD was produced about 30 years ago and by now about 40 have been produced. Of these not more than a handful contributed steadily to research in Pakistan. Recent Government policies --- offering attractive salaries to foreign faculty, increased salaries and tax relief for teachers and researchers, better facilities, scholarships for students --- are improving the situation. Nevertheless, not enough good students are entering a Mathematics-based career because there is virtually no employment of mathematicians in the private sector outside education and Mathematics (non-PhD) graduates can only get (low-demand) jobs in schools and colleges. The situation will not improve till we can absorb mathematics graduates into the mainstream of our economy.

It is by no means clear how to improve our situation. We hope that by direct contact with the World community of mathematicians, which we hope that the IMU will provide, we will learn how to manage our mathematical development better, more main-stream research will be undertaken and more relevant mathematics will be developed here.

Asghar Qadir
Chair of the Committee for Pakistan

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Previous issues can be seen here.