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IMU-Net 18: July 2006

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


As Madrid prepares to welcome mathematicians from around the world to ICM 2006, it is worth reflecting on the immense amount of time, skill and dedication that those involved in the organization, especially in Spain, but also on the various international committees, have devoted to the realization of this complex event. I have admired from afar many of the preparations, but only those who have themselves worked on the many different aspects of the planning (and their families) will really understand the extent of the effort that they have made over the last four years. I have no doubt that as a result the Madrid Congress will be of outstanding mathematical quality and excitement, and that it will also successfully engage the general public by providing a window through which to see the mathematical community and its importance for the world. At the same time we applaud those who have sponsored the ICM, without whose support the event would not be possible, and without whom many participants would not have been able to attend. I wish all who come to Madrid a memorable Congress.

John Ball, IMU President

ICM 2006 news

1. His Majesty the King Juan Carlos of Spain will open the ICM 2006.

2. More than 3300 people have now registered, and the registration is still open.

3. Two new cultural activities:

  • A book exhibition in the old library Marques de Valdecilla, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
    The bibliographical exhibition "History of Mathematical Knowledge", held by Universidad Complutense de Madrid in its Historical Library, intends to show the development of mathematical science through the texts that had been used in those institutions since the 16C. Colegio Imperial de los Jesuitas, los Colegios de Alcalá, el Real Colegio de Medicina y Cirugía de San Carlos and other centres and private libraries stored up books that have become a guide for us to know the way mathematics was studied and translated through the centuries. History has determined that they be kept in Universidad Complutense's Historical Library, one of Europe's oldest libraries.
  • An exhibition on Gödel. "Exposición Kurt Gödel, 1906-2006",
    Jardín Botánico de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 22 August - 8 September.
    Free entrance.
    It is based on the exhibition shown in Vienna.

And also:

  • Exhibition "Experiencing mathematics!"
    This exhibition, initiated by UNESCO, will be presented in a site downtown in Madrid, Centro Cultural Conde Duque.
    It is sponsored by IMU and ICMI and planned by the Centre Science of Orléans (France).
    Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Conde Duque 9-11, 28015 Madrid, August-October 2006.

IMU on the Web

The Federated World Directory of Mathematicians (FWDM)

Once, long ago, one could check whether a person was an acknowledged mathematician by looking her up in the World Directory of Mathematicians. But the WDM is no more, a victim of costs and of the coming of the electronic age. In retaliation, the CEIC now provides a search engine, the FWDM, capable of searching, simultaneously, all those Math Society membership lists that have made themselves appropriately available. As a bonus, the FWDM also provides links to Google and Google Scholar entries. Fourteen months ago (IMU on the Web #7) Alf mentioned the 'first steps towards constructing' a Federated World Directory of Mathematicians. Those steps became strides and by now have reached their goal. Readers should check their personal details and, more important, urge their national societies to make their membership lists accessible to the FWDM.
One caveat: search engines can be unexpectedly stupid and stubborn. It may be wiser to look for 'Alf*' rather than for 'Alf' and then to refine one's search only if that leads to too many hits. 'Borwein' on the other hand offers no such problems.

Alf van der Poorten (, Member of the CEIC
Jonathan Borwein (, Chair of the CEIC
(13 July 2006)

Passing away of Professor Iyanaga

Past ICMI President Shokichi Iyanaga passed away on June 1st. Professor Iyanaga was Vice-President of ICMI from 1971 to 1974, and President from 1975 to 1978. He also served as a member of the first Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union, when the union was re-established after the Second World War, from 1952 to 1954. Professor Iyanaga celebrated his 100th anniversary on 2 April 2006. On the very same day, a substantial mathematical paper of Professor Iyanaga was published online in the Japanese Journal of Mathematics:
Shokichi Iyanaga, "Travaux de Claude Chevalley sur la théorie du corps de classes: Introduction." Japanese Journal of Mathematics 1(2006), 25-85. This paper is available via Open Access at
On the occasion of the 50th issue of the ICMI Bulletin, Professor Iyanaga prepared a paper entitled "My remembrances from the period 1975-1978," ICMI Bulletin 50 (June 2001), pp. 6-7: link

EMS article competition: correction

We apologize for an error in IMU-Net 17, mixing up the 2004 and 2005 winners.

Prizewinners of the EMS Article Competition 2005 for the educated layman:

Professor F. Thomas Bruss, Dpt. de Mathématiques, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, for his article "Die Kunst der richtigen Entscheidung", published in the magazine Spektrum der Wissenschaft (Scientific American, German Ed.), June 2005. Also published in Pour La Science (Scientific American, French Ed.), September 2005.

Professor Tom M. Apostol, Project Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA, for his article "A Visual Approach to Calculus Problems", published in the magazine Engineering & Science, California Institute of Technology, Volume LXIII, No.3, pp. 22-31, 2000.

Professor Hansjörg Geiges, Mathematisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany, for his article "Christiaan Huygens and Contact Geometry", published in the Dutch magazine Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (5th series), Vol. 6, pp.117-123, 2005.

Runner up: Professor Aviezri S. Fraenkel, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, for his article "Why are Games Exciting and Stimulating?" accepted for publication in the magazine Math Horizons, Mathematical Association of America (to appear Feb. 2007, special games issue). Also published in German (translation: Niek Neuwahl) in connection with a games exhibition that took place in Göttingen, 17 July-21 August 2005.

Fermat Prize

Call for nominations for the 2007 Fermat Prize for Mathematics Research.

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Previous issues can be seen here.