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IMU-Net 40: March 2010

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


Dear Reader,

I write this editorial for IMU-NET towards the end of my four-year term as Member-at-Large of the IMU Executive Committee. Arrangements are well underway for the International Congress of Mathematicians to be held in Hyderabad, India, August 19-27, and I hope to meet many IMU-NET readers at the ICM. May I encourage you to participate in the Congress! Our Indian hosts have very generously offered local funding support for a number of participants, see

I have encouraged countries in my region, South East Asia, to join the IMU and am extremely happy that Thailand has become a member in time to attend the 16th General Assembly of the IMU in Bangalore just before the ICM. I look forward to meeting delegates from all new and current IMU member countries in Bangalore.

Serving on the Executive Committee has been a rewarding experience. The EC membership comprises a rich mix of different national and mathematical experience and expertise, and each member has a particular responsibility. I am the IMU EC liaison person with ICMI, the International Commission for Mathematical Instruction. Through ICMI, the IMU has access to broad and high level advice on mathematics education world-wide. Currently two ICMI initiatives are pursued jointly with the IMU: the Pipe-line project seeks to understand issues associated with the supply and demand for mathematics students and personnel in educational institutions and the workplace. Secondly the newly launched Klein project - inspired by Felix Klein’s famous book Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint - plans to produce hard-copy and electronic resources to help mathematics teachers make connections between the material they teach and the various areas of mathematics, while taking into account the evolution of mathematics over the last century.
The 2006-2010 IMU Executive Committee is the first EC to contain (as many as) two women members, and (perhaps consequently) another of my roles has been that of Chair of the ICM Emmy Noether Lecturer Committee. The series of Emmy Noether lectures honours women who have made fundamental and sustained contributions to mathematics. I look forward to hearing the 2010 ICM Emmy Noether lecture delivered in Hyderabad by Professor Idun Reiten.

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

IMU on the Web

We note that the Open Access Movement continues to develop. Many mandates at the institutional or departmental level have been created, which direct authors who have public funding to make their resulting research open access (1). The most contentious aspect of open access is around appropriate business models – alternatives to the tradition subscription model for journals – which could be both fair and sustainable. Who pays to support the system? Library budgets? Authors? Combinations of them?

Focusing attention upon the U.S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest government agency funding biomedical research, has mandated that their funding recipients make their accepted manuscripts available via PubMedCentral. Moreover, recently the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) convened a group which has issued “Report and Recommendations from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable (2). This is the first involvement of the Obama administration in these policy questions. The participants were asked to contribute their expertise and propose solutions on the roles of the federal government, libraries, institutional repositories, and scholarly publishers toward access and preservation of results of federally funded research.

Five principles undergird the report:

  1. Peer review remains critical for quality and editorial integrity
  2. Adaptable business models will be needed as things evolve
  3. Scholarly and scientific publications can and should be more broadly accessible
  4. Sustained archiving and preservation are essential
  5. Results of research need to be published and maintained in ways that maximize creative reuse and interoperation among the sites that host them.

While space here does not allow a full examination of this report, there is reference to inequities of access, especially for those researchers based in resource-constrained developing countries. It is not easy to study exactly how effective such UN-sponsored programs as HINARI, AGORA, OARE, or those initiatives from JSTOR, Highwire Press, or societies such as the American Math Society are in extending the reach of published literature (3). Mathematicians based in developing countries have quite a lot of open literature available to them, perhaps much more relevant literature than biomedical researchers. Is closer study of the effect of special programs to provide access a good idea? If you are a mathematical researcher in a developing country and wish to offer remarks based on your own experience obtaining articles you need, please consider writing a note to the IMU-Net editor.

Carol Hutchins
Librarian Courant Institute of Math Sciences NYU and member, CEIC

ICM 2010

A Press conference about ICM 2010 has been held in India. The Press release appeared in the local press on March 31st (which happens to be Descarte's birthday).

Abel Prize 2010: Abel Prize to John T. Tate

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2010 to John Torrence Tate, University of Texas at Austin, for his vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers. The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Christian Stenseth, announced the name of the 2010 Abel Laureate at the Academy in Oslo on March 24th.

John Tate will receive the Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald at an award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, May 25th.

The Abel Prize recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to the mathematical sciences and has been awarded annually since 2003. It carries a cash award of NOK 6,000,000 (close to 730,000 Euros or US$ 1 mill.)

ICMI Awards

The Felix Klein and Hans Freudenthal Medals are the two awards created by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI), for recognizing outstanding achievement in mathematics education research. The Felix Klein Medal, named for the first president of ICMI (1908-1920), honors a lifetime achievement. The Hans Freudenthal Medal, named for the eight president of ICMI (1967-1970), recognizes a major cumulative program of research.

The Klein Award goes to Gilah C. Leder (La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia), in recognition of her more than thirty years of sustained, consistent, and outstanding lifetime achievements in mathematics education research and development.

The Freudenthal Award goes to Yves Chevallard (IUFM, Aix-Marseille, France), in recognition of his foundation and development over the last two and a half decades of a very original, fruitful and influential research programme in mathematics education.

Clay Millenium Prize

The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) announces that Dr. Grigoriy Perelman of St. Petersburg, Russia, is the recipient of the Millennium Prize for resolution of the Poincaré conjecture.

2012 ICPAM-CIMPA research schools call for projects

The International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics ICPAM-CIMPA organizes research schools of about two weeks in developing countries. The purpose of these schools is to contribute to the research training of the new generation of mathematicians, women and men. Once selected by the Scientific committee and the Governing board of ICPAM-CIMPA, research schools are organized locally with the help of ICPAM-CIMPA. ICPAM-CIMPA's financial contribution is essentially for young mathematicians from neighbouring countries to be able to attend the research school. ICPAM-CIMPA can help with obtaining founds from other sources.

Research schools call for projects begins on March 1st, 2010. The deadline for a pre-proposal is June 15, 2010. The complete proposal is due October 1st, 2010.

The application form can be found on ICPAM-CIMPA website (, you can also write to

News from CIRM

The International Centre for Mathematical Meetings (CIRM) provides accommodation expenses to 40 participants per conference, irrespective of nationality.

The CIRM is dedicated to hosting high-level meetings in the field of mathematics. Located in Marseille, France, it welcomes every year almost 3,000 researchers from about fifty countries and all continents. The centre offers several types of scientific activities focused on mathematics: seminars, workshops, thematic trainings... The duration of these events varies from several days to several weeks, and groups can be of variable sizes: research in pairs, small groups of 5 to 20 participants, seminars with up to 80 participants.

The activities are organized through a collaboration between an organization committee consisting of researchers (this committee may not include a French researcher) and the Centre staff, which has expertise of almost thirty years – the CIRM was created in 1981. From 2011, the centre provides support for accommodation and catering for 40 participants per conference, - possibly more, on justified demand from the event managers and after agreement by the Centre's Scientific Council. Starting this year, the accommodation expenses for small groups and research pairs are fully supported. This budget reduction for meetings greatly simplifies the organizing committees'tasks, especially for foreign event managers, and allows invitation, for example, of young mathematicians and researchers from emerging countries.

Researchers have at their disposal, in addition to rooms and necessary IT equipment, one of the largest mathematics libraries in the country (about 40,000 works, 700 journal titles and access to electronic journals). The activities cover all branches of mathematics, right up to their interfaces with other sciences. The centre’s programme and the ways of participating or organizing activities can be viewed at the following address:

ICSU proposal of a Database of Human and Infrastructure Resources in Asia and the Pacific.

The International Council for Scientific Unions (ICSU) proposes to construct a database of human and infrastructure resources for Asia and the Pacific in their priority areas of:

  1. Hazards and Disasters,
  2. Ecosystems and Society,
  3. Sustainable Energy, and
  4. Urban Health and Well-being

ICSU is interested to know who is working in these areas, what infrastructure they have available, and what existing collaborations there are across theregion. The purposes are to encourage appropriate additional collaborations, identify those parts of ICSU's scientific plans that are already being worked on, and to identify groups in the region who could be encouraged to work on other parts of their plans. ICSU wishes also to work together with identified groups towards new resources to enable the additional collaborations and the new work.

A map of these resources would probably be on the web, but information would only be made openly available with the consent of those listed.

Groups working in one of these areas are encouraged to send the following information to:
Mr Mohd Hizamddin Jaafar, Administrative Officer, International Council for Science (ICSU ROAP) (

  1. Name and location of the research group
  2. URL of their web page
  3. Contact person with email address and, if possible, phone number
  4. Research projects being undertaken
  5. Number of scientists in the group
  6. Available resources (equipment, supercomputers, etc)
  7. Existing collaborations.

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Previous issues can be seen here.