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IMU-Net 14: November 2005

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

IMU news

GENERAL ASSEMBLY DELEGATES - Deadline: 15 December 2005

The 15th General Assembly of the International Mathematical Union will be held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 19-20 August 2006, before the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM2006). The meeting will take place at Puerta del Camino Hotel, 15703 Santiago de Compostela. Spain. The procedures for room reservations will be announced with the invitation letters from the Local Organizing Committee to the delegate(s) appointed by the Adhering Organization. More information can be found at:
Please access the online delegate submission form at

International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA)

Renewal of the Director of the International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA)
The new Director of CIMPA will start her or his work on 1st October 2006. Candidates should send a CV and a proposal before 15 December 2005.
Call for candidates:

EMS week-ends

The next will be in Nantes (France) 16-18 June 2006

ICM 2006

Information about special activities.

  1. Emmy Noether Lecture: Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
  2. e-Learning Mathematics, a panel discussion
    Organised by the Executive Committee of the Spanish Conference of Deans of Mathematics (
  3. Special lecture on the Poincaré Conjecture: John Morgan, Columbia University, New York, USA

Clay research awards

Manjul Bhargava (Princeton University, USA) and Nils Dencker (Lund University, Sweden) have been awarded the 2005 Clay Research Awards, which recognize extraordinary achievement in mathematics. The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) recognized Bhargava for his discovery of new composition laws for quadratic forms, and for his work on the average size of ideal class groups. CMI recognized Dencker for his complete resolution of a conjecture made by F. Treves and L. Nirenberg in 1970. The awards were presented at CMI's annual meeting on 11 October 2005 at Oxford University, at which there were talks on the awardees' work and a public lecture by Sir Andrew Wiles.

Grant from Nuffield Foundation for mathematics in Africa

The Nuffield Foundation has recently awarded a grant of £105,000 for a two-year pilot project to support mathematics and its teaching in the Anglophone countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The grant has been awarded jointly to the London Mathematical Society (LMS), IMU and the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) (

The project proposes to pilot a mentoring relationship between mathematicians in the UK and African colleagues, together with their students. Further details can be found in the November 2005 LMS newsletter (

IMU on the Web

Citation indices

Under the title "The Number That's Devouring Science", Richard Monastersky writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education ( of 14 October 2005 that the impact factor, once a simple way to rank scientific journals, has become an unyielding yardstick for hiring, tenure, and grants. Among associated articles, "Inside the Impact Factor" ( points out that the measurement is biased against slower moving fields, like mathematics, in which papers often cite literature that is many years old. Any citation beyond two years old dos not enter into the impact-factor calculation.

Igor Podlubny, "A note on comparison of scientific impact expressed by the number of citations in different fields of science" points to the importance of normalization factors. He suggests that after proper normalization 250 citations in mathematics is equal to about 19500 citations in clinical medicine, or 4750 citations in physics. For details see .

I supply this material, and the following old story, courtesy of my colleague Michael Cowling, President of the AustMS. He writes: "I was once contacted by an Irish university and asked to provide a reference for an application there. At this time, before the plague of citation counting, the bureaucrats had a better way to quantify appointability. The referees were all asked to fill in a form, which contained a table, in which we were supposed to list the candidates five best papers, with columns labelled "Title of Work", "Journal", "First Page Number", "Last Page Number", and "Office Use Only". There was also a box under the five "Office Use Only" numbers. This was shortly after pocket calculators became widely available at reasonable prices, so I presume that the clerks were equipped with these; how else would they have been able to multiply all those numbers together?"

Alf van der Poorten AM (, member of the CEIC of the IMU

PS: My comments on "Why we might Digitize, and the Reference Web", cruelly omitted two months ago, now appear at

EWDM - Electronic World Directory of Mathematicians

1000th Member joined EWDM!
Two years age, IMU asked every mathematician to set up and maintain a personal homepage and to register the homepage at the "Electronic World Directory of Mathematicians (EWDM)", see "The Personal Homepage Call" at

On 6 October 2005, the 1000th mathematician registered. WELCOME!

The Web page offers a simple search interface allowing to look for registered persons (try John), institutions (try ZIB), or countries (try America). For reasons of data protection, all e-mail addresses are listed as images. This minimizes misuse.

Below is the list of top ten countries (with the largest number of registered persons on 12 November 2005):

134 from United Kingdom
122 from United States of America
88 from Germay
67 from France
44 from Italy
36 from Canada
33 from India
32 from Russia
29 from Spain
29 from Iran

If you are interested in joining EWDM, please go to

for the registration mechanism. The registration form allows easy subscription to IMU-Net as well. And tell your friends and colleagues about EWDM and IMU-Net.

Subscribing to IMU-Net

There are two ways of subscribing to IMU-Net:

  1. Click here with a Web browser and go to the "Subscribe" button to subscribe to IMU-Net online.
  2. Send an e-mail to with the Subject-line: Subject: subscribe


In both cases you will get an e-mail to confirm your subscription so that misuse will be minimized. IMU will not use the list of IMU-Net emails for any purpose other than sending IMU-Net, and will not make it available to others.

Previous issues can be seen here.