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IMU-Net 36: July 2009

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


International Congress of Mathematicians - 2010

As many of IMU-NET readers would know, India is to host the International Congress (ICM-2010) for the year 2010. The congress will take place in the city of Hyderabad during August 19-27.

Mathematics is the language of science and India is proud to have coined one of the most important words of its lexicon - "zero" - in the distant past; and we have a long tradition of pursuit of mathematics. India joined the IMU soon after it was revived after the second world war. The Indian mathematical community feels greatly honoured that the IMU has accepted our bid to hold the ICM 2010 in India, thereby extending recognition to our efforts at promoting mathematics. We look forwrad to welcoming our colleagues from all over the world in Hyderabad, the venue of the Congress and expect to learn a great deal that is new. The Congress will be of great help to us to raise the level of public awareness about mathematics in our country.

India has been a professional destination for many mathematicians over the last 75 years and more. Many British academics had come to India to teach mathematics in our colleges during the colonial period. W H Young, the British analyst accepted a part-time chair, the Hardinge Professorship of Pure Mathematics in Calcutta University which he held from 1913 to 1917. Andre Weil spent two years at an Indian university as a professor during 1930 - 32.

R A Fisher spent several extended periods of time at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata (ISI), his first visit dating back to 1937. ISI laso hosted visits by Norber Wiener and A N Kolmogorov. Many other distinguished mathematicians, mainly probabilists from the erstwhile Soviet block visited ISI during the cold war years. In later years, after that institution set up branches in Delhi and Bangalore, also at the same time broadening its areas of research it has had a string of visitors, many of them big names in matheamtics.

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. TIFR too had a regular stream of visitors almost from its inception in 1945, many of them spending extended periods of time in Mumbai. Carl Ludwig Siegel and Laurent Schwarz made several visits each of a duration of two months and more to during the fifties and sixties. Armand Borel and David Mumford made several visits to TIFR during the sixties and seventies (and later). The visitors' list to TIFR includes several Fields Medalists and other reknowned mathematicians. The International Colloquiua held once in every four years by TIFR have been an important forum for international exchange at the highest level.

To mention a few more distinguished visitors who spent extended periods of time in TIFR during the fifties and sixties: H Rademacher, H Mass, Eichler, J L Lions, K Yosida, B Malgrange, F Bruhat, J P Kahane, M Deuring, G de Rham, K Ito, G D Mostow, R Bott, R Langlands.......Many others have come on shorter visits mainly to participate in conferences: A Selberg, H Grauert, R Thom, A Grothendieck, M F Atiyah, L Hormander, J Milnor, I Pjatetskii-Shapiro, J P Serre, H Furstenberg, G A Margulis, D Kazdan .....These visits were of course of great help to us in building mathematics in the country

Hyderabad the venue of the Congress is home to several IT companies and rivals Bangalore as a IT hub in the country. The city is well connected, with many airlines flying to and from it. It was founded in the 15th century and is steeped in history. It is also famous for its cuisine. India of course has a lot to offer by way of tourism catering to a wide range of interests: wild life, scenic splendour, historical monuments, art and music, great food and sports as well.

On behalf of the Indian mathematical community I would like to urge mathematicians from all over the world to participate in ICM 2010 and help us make it a great success. For more information:

M.S. Raghunathan
Chairman of the organizing committee

ICM Videos

At ICM 1998 in Berlin the first attempt at an International Congress of Mathematicians was made to record the opening ceremony, plenary lectures, and other major events on video. The videos were archived in a format that is "gone" in the meantime, but they could be recovered and transformed with some effort to the current video standard "flash".

The videos are not "great", but some of them are undoubtedly of long term historic interest (e. g., see A. Wiles' lecture on Fermat's problem). At ICM 2002 in Beijing most of the major events and lectures were recorded as well. The video recording at ICM 2006 in Madrid became more professional, but we still have to learn how to "shoot" better videos of such events with a very limited budget.

IMU is grateful to the organizing committees of these ICMs for donating the videos to IMU and allowing IMU to place them on the Internet. IMU is making now the videos produced at these three ICMs available on its Web site here.

IMU maintains the copyright of the videos but gives everyone interested the permission to download and show the videos. IMU just modestly requests to mention where these videos come from.

IMU will continue this tradition and has asked the ICM 2010 organizing committee to also record the plenary lectures and the opening ceremony in Hyderabad.

News from ICMI

* A new Website for ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction) has been opened:

ICMI Website

The site will house the ICMI Digital Library, where various documents related to ICMI, including the ICMI Study volumes and ICME Proceedings, will be freely downloadable. The ICMI Executive Committee also wishes the site to serve as a portal to various sources of information on the teaching and learning of mathematics in all parts of the world.

* Call for Nominations for the ICMI awards:
- the Hans Freudenthal Award, for a major programme of research on mathematics education,
- the Felix Klein Award, for lifelong achievement in mathematics education research. The ICMI Awards Committee is now entering a fourth cycle of selecting awardees for 2009. The result of this process will be known by the end of 2009. The 2009 Awards will be presented to the recipients at ICME-12 in Seoul, Korea in 2012. The ICMI Awards Committee welcomes suggestions coming from the mathematics education community, hence this call for nominations.

A nomination of a candidate for the Felix Klein or the Hans Freudenthal Award has to be accompanied by a summary presenting the vita and the achievements of person nominated, as well as the reasons for the nomination. Moreover, nominations also have to include the names and coordinates of two or three persons from whom the committee may seek further information. All proposals must be sent by e-mail ( to Mogens Niss, Chair of the Committee no later than 15 September 2009.

The Klein project

In 2008 IMU and ICMI commissioned a project to revisit the intent of Felix Klein when he wrote Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint. That is, to produce a book for secondary teachers that communicates the breadth and vitality of the research discipline of mathematics and connects it to the senior secondary school curriculum.

The international Design Team for the project confirmed the production of a 300-page book written to inspire teachers to present to their students a more complete picture of the growing and interconnected field represented by the mathematical sciences in today's world.

The actual writing will be done by invited authors of proven experience in expert and inspiring authorship. Anyone wishing to be on a mailing list to be kept up to date and receive draft material is invited to send an email in the first instance to A website is in the process of being established.

Shaw Prize

The Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences 2009 is awarded in equal shares to Simon K Donaldson (former IMU EC member) and Clifford H Taubes for their many brilliant contributions to geometry in 3 and 4 dimensions.

Please refer to the following links for details:

IMU on the Web

This note contains various updates on the state of "mathematics on the web" gleaned from the authors' visit to Conferences in Intelligent Mathematics '09 (

At this meeting there was a face-to-face meeting of the MathML Working Group. MathML 3.0 is nearing completion. The new features include support for right-to-left (e.g. Arabic) mathematics, typical school notations for long division etc., and support for line breaking and reflowing (see also IMU-Net 34). Much of the meeting was taken up with Content MathML, which this column will return to when the dust has finally settled.

Patrick Ion of Mathematical Reviews gave an amusing historical talk. He drew attention to the next release of the Mathematics Subject Classification, at He presented graphs of the growth of the MR database, which showed fairly convincingly that the growth in the database is cubic with time, i.e. the rate of publishing is growing quadratically rather than exponentially.

Of the several workshops and meetings, the most relevant was Digital Mathematical Libraries (DML) 2009:

Several national and international DML projects, or surveys, were presented. The main theme was "top-down is dead", and that a lot of "bottom-up", local or national, projects are being pursued. The community should therefore be pursuing the digital equivalent of a federation of libraries, or possibly a federated library.

There is also a lot more "direct-from-the-author availability", as in the IMU 2001 call:
and the advent of Google (and Google Scholar) has meant that these versions are much more accessible. However, this means that finding "the authoritative version", or knowing the status of the version one has found, becomes more challenging. In addition, the ability to add annotations to papers after publication, while clearly valuable and easy, can only exacerbate this problem.

There was a presentation from JSTOR, which now has over 5000 institutional subscribers. Every year, 80% of the papers in JSTOR are downloaded, which forms an interesting counterweight to citation statistics. While it is common to view JSTOR as a repository, they are also interested in collaborative projects which use their database.

James Davenport/Mike Doob
Members of the CEIC

OECD report of the Global Science Forum Experts Group on Mathematics in Industry

The report of the OECD Global Science Forum Experts Group on Mathematics in Industry is now a public document. It is a reasoned compendium of mechanisms that can be used for strengthening the links between industry and academic mathematics. The report is available at

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Previous issues can be seen here.