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IMU-Net 30: July 2008

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France


Dear Reader,

this is summertime, the season of big conferences. You will find below news about ICME-11, the international congress of ICMI and about the 5th European Congress of Mathematics. As usual, this issue contains the regular column "IMU on the Web". I am also pleased to inform you that our colleague, the mathematician Alf Onshuus from the University of Los Andes (Bogota, Colombia) has been released by the FARC.
I wish you a good vacation.

Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel

IMU on the Web: The digitization of the ICM proceedings and related material

One of the projects the CEIC is pursuing is the digitization of all the Proceedings of the International Congresses of Mathematicians to make them readily accessible to the public.

The whole material consists of 62 printed volumes with a total of more than 35000 pages. The last three ICMs (Berlin, Beijing, Madrid) produced electronically born proceedings while everything earlier was only printed and hence will be digitized.

The actual state of the metadata can be seen here:

The list starts a few years before the first ICM of 1897 in Zürich with the Chicago Congress, held in 1893 on the occasion of the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, which gave birth to the ideas of international mathematical congresses and to the International Mathematical Union as a whole.

Felix Klein, in a talk on "The Present State of Mathematics", described the tendency of mathematics to become more and more specialized, and therefore evokes ideas for unifying our science and our scientific efforts, by saying:

"A distinction between the present and the earlier period lies evidently in this: that what was formerly begun by a single master-mind, we now must seek to accomplish by united efforts and cooperation. A movement in this direction was started in France some time since by the powerful influence of Poincar'e. For similar purposes we three years ago founded in Germany a mathematical society, and I greet the young society in New York and its Bulletin as being in harmony with our aspirations. But our mathematicians must go further still. They must form international unions, and I trust that this present World's Congress at Chicago will be a step in that direction."

(Quoted from "Felix Klein: Present State of Mathematics", Mathematical Papers read at the International Mathematical Congress, 1893, p. 133-135.)

After having collected the copyrights -- which we eventually got -- our production process goes by first finding a copy of the respective proceedings volumes, and then in most cases -- horribile dictu for all bibliophiles -- by cutting them into single pages. This is a reasonable way to make use of an automatic page feeder.

The University of Michigan Library gave permission for the use of their images for the years 1897 through 1924.

Scanning is done with 600 dpi, since we found out that this is necessary for good quality. Math requires the readability of second order indices, which are typically of 5 point size.

Of course, the next step then is to run the scanned images through an optical character recognition process in order to make the volumes searchable.

In the final setup, the single articles of the respective proceedings will occur with their titles on dedicated web-pages as it is custom by now in E-journal postings.

Display formats will be DJVU and PDF, but we will also make the scanned images publicly available, and we will encourage sites to mirror the collection, as this will contribute to its longevity: The more copies exist, the more likely is its survival in the long run.

For all who want to help: In addition to the ICM proceedings, we would like to digitize related material like Programmes, Abstracts, Short Communications etc.

Here we do not have all the items -- we mostly do not even know what was published at all. Some of this material is already listed in the metadata web page mentioned above. In case you are aware of or possibly even have and want to donate material which isn't listed, please contact one of us:

Keith Dennis
Ulf Rehmann

ICMI: the new Executive Committee

A new Executive Committee of the ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical Instruction, was elected at the ICMI General Assembly held July 6 in Monterrey, México.
ICMI is an official commission of IMU and till now the election was held at the General Assemblies of IMU. It was the first time that the ICMI General Assembly elected the Executive Committee of ICMI; this was decided by the IMU General Assembly held in Santiago de Compostela, August 12-13, 2006.
The members of the 2010-2012 ICMI EC, with the various positions held, are:

William Barton (New Zealand)
Jaime Carvalho e Silva (Portugal)
Mina Teicher (Israel)
Angel Ruiz (Costa Rica)
Mariolina Bartolini Bussi (Italy)
Sung Je Cho (Korea)
Roger Howe (USA)
Renuka Vithal (South Africa)
Zhang Yingbo (China)

The term of this next EC will start on January 1, 2010.

EMS Prizes

THe EMS Prizes are awarded by the European Mathematical Society in recognition of distinguished contributions in mathematics by young researchers not older than 35 years. THe prizes are presented every four years at the European Mathematical Congress. The 2008 winners are:
Artur Avila (Brazil, France), Alexei Borodin (Russia, USA), Ben Green (UK), Olga Holtz (Russia, USA), Bo'az Klartag (Israel, USA), Alexander Kuznetsov (Russia), Assaf Naor (Israel, USA), Laure Saint-Raymond (France), Agata Smoktunowicz (Poland) and Cedric Villani (France). The Felix KLein Prize, established by the EMS and the Institute for Industrial Mathematics, is awarded to a young scientist (or a small group of young scientists), not older than 38 years, for an outstanding solution of a difficult industrial problem.
The second Felix KLein Prize winner is Josselin Garnier (France)

Shaw Prizes

The Shaw Laureates 2008 in Mathematical Sciences are:

Professor Ludwig Faddeev, Director of Euler International Mathematical Institute (Steklov Institute of Mathematics, St. Petersburg, Russia) and

Professor Vladimir Arnold, Chief Scientist of Steklov Mathematical Institute (Moscow, Russia)

for their widespread and influential contributions to Mathematical Physics.


The president of the African Mathematical Union (AMU) has decided to cancel the 7th PACOM that was scheduled to be held in Cairo (Egypt) in August 2008.

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Previous issues can be seen here.