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IMU-Net 19: September 2006

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

From the Editor

After a summer which has been so rich in events for the International Mathematical Union, I am pleased to welcome the participants of ICM 2006 to the electronic newsletter of IMU. One of the ambitions of the newsletter is to improve the communication between IMU and the worldwide mathematical community, by reporting on the activities of IMU, major international mathematical events and developments and other topics of general mathematical interest.

It is difficult to get feedback from readers and mathematical societies, but this year the initiative of IMU of having a booth at ICM 2006 has permitted many direct and fruitful contacts with mathematicians. I hope that they will inform their colleagues and the mathematical societies in their countries about the work of IMU and convince them to subscribe to IMU-Net!

Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel
Editor of IMU-Net

General Assembly

General Assembly

The 15th General Assembly of IMU was held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on August 19-20. There were 133 delegates and 20 observers, from 64 countries.

The GA approved a budget for the coming years that will allow IMU to keep up its work through its commissions and committees. In particular IMU can continue to strengthen its work in support of developing countries. The GA also approved the amended statutes, as proposed by the EC. The main novelty is the creation of a new membership category, associate membership, to make it easier for new, in particular developing, countries to become members. Associate members pay no dues and have no voting rights, but are expected to apply for ordinary membership within 4-8 years. See

A new nomination procedure for the elections to the EC and the commissions were approved. Also, it was decided to increase the number of ordinary members of the EC from five to six. Laszlo Lovasz was elected as the new president of IMU for the period 2007-2010. The full results of the elections, the presentations from the commissions, and the Resolutions passed by the GA can be found here.

The next General Assembly will be held in Bangalore, India, on August 16-17, 2010, and ICM 2010 will be held in Hyderabad, India, in the period August 19-27, 2010.

IMU Awards and Prizes

The winners of the Fields Medals awarded in Madrid, during the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematicians ICM 2006, are:
Andrei Okounkov
Grigori Perelman*
Terence Tao
Wendelin Werner
*Grigori Perelman declined to accept the Fields Medal.
The Nevanlinna Prize was awarded to Jon Kleinberg.
The new Gauss Prize was awarded to Kiyoshi Itô.

ICM 2006


2006 will go down in the history of Spanish mathematics as the year in which our dreams became a reality. We are a community with a short history, but one eager to form part of the international community, and the ICM 2006 has provided us with the possibility of fulfilling that desire.

On a domestic level, the ICM 2006 in Madrid has been a collective effort, co-ordinated by the Spanish mathematical societies through the committee ( representing them at the IMU. It has fulfilled its aim of contributing to the internal vertebration of our mathematical community.

Furthermore, this ICM, and the General Assembly in Santiago de Compostela have helped to increase our involvement in the tasks of the IMU, as well as making the IMU better known to Spanish mathematicians. In addition, it has been an experience that young Spanish mathematicians will never forget.

One of our greatest concerns was to meet the expectations that the IMU had placed in us by entrusting us with the organization of this outstanding event. We are proud not to have let them down and we are grateful to the IMU for having provided us with this opportunity.

This ICM 2006 will undoubtedly be remembered for the extraordinary attention it has received from the media. Some external factors contributed to this success, among them the presence of His Majesty the King of Spain and the expectation aroused by the award of the Fields Medals. However, we must not forget that the Press Office spent a year preparing for the congress and that an important part of the budget was devoted to this end. The results are there for all to see, and have opened up ways of transmitting mathematics to the public at large through the different media. For two weeks in our country people from different walks of life spoke about mathematics, while we mathematicians ourselves became something near and friendly.

The organization of any ICM is a highly complex undertaking that is beset by pitfalls. If I had to offer any advice to the organizers of future ICMs, I would suggest they choose a good team of collaborators, since it is impossible to carry out such an undertaking without this support. I would also advise them to approach the task with boldness and optimism. Four long (or short?) years of intense dedication awaits them, but I can assure them that the results are worthwhile.

The ICM 2006 has come to an end, and on behalf of the Organizing Committee I would like to thank all those who have helped to make it a reality: the participants, the members of the IMU, the sponsors, and the media representatives. Our greatest satisfaction consists in having upheld the founding spirit of the congress by helping to bring mathematicians from all fields together to discuss their work.

The doors of our country remain open to all our new mathematical friends.

Hasta pronto!

Manuel de León
President of the Organizing Committee of ICM 2006

IMU on the Web

15th General Assembly of the IMU

Members of the CEIC: John Ewing, Martin Groetschel, Peter Michor and Alf van der Poorten, provided a detailed report to the GA of the IMU at Santiago de Compostela, emphasising both the failures and successes of the first eight years of the activities of the Committee; click (and set the Reader to 'Full Screen').

Although the Committee is charged by the Executive Committee to advise on all matters of Information and Communication, an overriding motive behind the formation of the CEIC at Dresden, 1998 was, and remains, the ever increasing cost of academic journals. At the GA, I had to remind delegates that useful statements on that matter may be found at and the link there to

The GA formally endorsed the CEIC statement "Digital Mathematical Library: a vision for the Future" and adopted the CEIC recommendation "Some Best Practices for Retrodigitisation", declaring it did so "with the ultimate goal of creating an enduring network of digital mathematical literature"; see the links at

What is MathML. Why should we care?

No doubt it's some mathematicalization of the "ht" in html; that seems worth caring about. An information article "The present and future of MathML", written by CEIC member David Morrison, is currently in preparation and will soon be available on the CEIC pages.

Alf van der Poorten (, member of the CEIC.

A new President for TWAS

Jacob Palis has been elected President of the Third World Academy of Sciences.

Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize for the Basic Sciences Category was awarded to Dr. Hirotugu Akaike (Japan) for major contribution to statistical science and modeling with the development of the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC).

Subscribing to IMU-Net

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Previous issues can be seen here.