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IMU-Net 22: March 2007

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


Dear Reader,

As a new Member-at-Large of the IMU Executive Committee, it is my privilege to welcome you to the March 2007 issue of IMU-NET, the electronic newsletter of the IMU.

The new Executive Committee began its four-year term on January 1, 2007, and so far it has involved almost daily electronic contact between members. The Executive Committee looks forward to communicating through this newsletter information on important decisions and initiatives it makes. For example, an issue of concern to mathematicians in many countries is the use, and possible misuse, of various measures of research quality such as journal impact factors. This was raised during the IMU General Assembly in Santiago de Compostela. The Executive Committee is moving towards establishing a joint committee of the IMU, the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics to consider and report on the "quantitative assessment of research". More on this initiative is sure to appear in a later issue of IMU-NET. The Executive Committee, with a rich diversity of members, is enthusiastically embracing its work. For the first time the Committee has more than one woman member, and for the first time includes someone based in Australia, namely me.
In common with many other IMU-NET readers, I appreciate the timely and informative nature of IMU-NET. I thank the editor, Professor Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel for the opportunity to write this editorial and wish her continued success in her role as editor.

Cheryl E. Praeger
Member-at-Large, IMU Executive Committee

Programm Committee Chair for ICM 2010

Hendrik W. Lenstra has been appointed Chair of the Program Committee of the International Congress of Mathematicians 2010 in Hyderabad, India, 19-27 August 2010 by IMU President L. Lovasz.
His coordinates are as follows

Prof. Hendrik W. Lenstra
Mathematisch Instituut, Universiteit Leiden, Postbus 9512
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands
e-mail: hwlicm at

If you have proposals concerning the scientific program of ICM 2010 please contact Prof. Lenstra by e-mail.

IMU on the Web

Papers and Books on the Internet

Media massaging is not the same thing as media messaging.

An amusing article in Nature, placed on line on January 24, 2007 and corrected on January 25, suggests that academic journal publishers may choose to fight the widespread moves to require publicly funded research to be openly available. I was particularly amused by the boxed aside quoting a spokesperson as advising that publishers should issue retaliatory sound bites, misquoted as "Media massaging is not the same as intellectual debate", and quickly corrected to the original "Media messaging ... ". My take: this is all just for show. There's little evidence that preprint publication in open archives or on university websites inhibits authors' desire for formal journal publication or the demand of readers for the imprimatur of peer review. More, recall "The devil you don't know" mentioned at IMU on the Web #5, where Joseph J. Esposito explains why open access publishing is more likely a boon than a bane for traditional publishers.

By happenstance, I was also recently alerted to remarks of Klaus Peters (A. K. Peters Ltd. 'Publishers of Science and Technology') providing an instructive reminder of the services that publishers can and do offer us. The principal content of this IMU on the Web is those remarks turned into a useful essay "Textbooks on the Internet".

For that essay (and for details of my opening remarks) see

Alf van der Poorten (, member of the CEIC.

Abel Prize 2007

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2007 to Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York.
He receives the prize for "his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviation".
The Prize will be presented by His Majesty King Harald of Norway on 22 May 2007.

Ramanujan Prize 2007

The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) is pleased to invite nominations for the 2007 Ramanujan Prize for young mathematicians from developing countries. The Prize is funded by the Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund. The Prize carries a $10,000 cash award and an allowance to visit ICTP for a meeting where the Prize winner will be required to deliver a lecture.
The deadline for receipt of nominations is 31 July 31 2007.

The 2005 Prize was awarded to Professor Marcelo A. Viana from IMPA, Brazil. The 2006 Prize was awarded to Professor Ramdorai Sujatha, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

Please send nominations to describing the work of the nominee in adequate detail. Two supporting letters should also be arranged.

ICIAM and developing countries

Professor Ian Sloan, President of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, has announced a new scheme to help in promoting mathematics and its applications in developing countries. Financial support is to be given to the organisers of approved conferences (currently to the extent of $3,000 (US) per conference, for two conferences per year). The funds are to be used to provide ICIAM Fellowships to assist mathematicians from developing countries or regions to attend the conference.

Lars Ahlfors Centennial Celebration

Finland celebrates this year the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lars Ahlfors, the Finnish Fields medalist of 1936. There will be a major conference in Helsinki (Finland), 20-24 August 2007, and considerable public outreach in conjunction with this event.

Euler Year

On 15 April 2007, the birthday of the great Swiss mathematician and scientist Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) will recur for the 300th time; this presents a good occasion for reflecting on his life and his works in their historical context and in their implications for our time.

During the whole Euler Tercentenary year, the general public will have various opportunities for encounters with mathematics, the exact sciences, and their history. These activities are being planned by a Program Committee under the patronage of the Swiss Academy of Science.

MathDoc news

  1. At the end of March 2007, NUMDAM will host the entire digitised archives of Annali della scuola normale superiore di Pisa, classe di scienze; this adds 1727 articles, 43249 pages and 3500 links from bibliographies to articles' full texts. See
  2. The CEDRAM (publishing the current electronic edition of some of the journals at NUMDAM) has completely changed its internal format and the metadata now lives entirely in two versions: HTML+TeX and XHTML+MathML, see

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Previous issues can be seen here.