A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the International Mathematical Union
Editor: Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France
As students we are taught the importance of rigour and precise proofs in mathematics, and those of us who are now teaching mathematics try to transmit this to the next generation. Providing detailed assessment of written work is an important part of this process; this task can be time consuming and requires considerable care and attention, but it is a somewhat easier one in mathematics than in most other sciences or in the humanities, since an answer to a mathematical question is more clearly either correct or not. I have actually noticed that the fact that evaluations were « fair » is frequently mentioned when mathematicians remember what made them then prefer mathematics to other subjects in high school.
This commitment to rigorous and fair assessment resurfaces in various ways in academic life. For example, mathematicians themselves prefer to be the ones who make editorial decisions in our main journals. This contrasts with some other scientific disciplines whose major journals, including Science and Nature, employ professional editors rather than relying on the editorial judgement of active scientists.
Interdisciplinary panels tasked with evaluating the scientific output of individuals are a common feature of today's academic world. Usually, if not always, mathematicians who sit on such panels have the impression that the evaluation criteria come from a foreign planet. Arbitrarily defined bibliometric indexes and impact factors often seem to virtually automatically govern important decisions, which, in many cases, decide allocation of large sums of money. Furthermore, the members of evaluating panels can have very limited understanding (to say the least) of the actual work that they are evaluating. All this seems in total contradiction with the foundations of our conception of science, and can indeed have devastating direct repercussions on the science produced (since meeting the criteria of these artificial evaluation rules would become the main goal to achieve, instead of the intrinsic quality and originality of the research output).
While evaluation is in general a sensitive subject and a difficult task (a complete consensual guide on « how to evaluate » would probably be impossible to produce), it is important to remain firm on the basic principles, particularly that it is neither fair nor efficient to evaluate something that one does not understand. It is therefore essential that we continue to resist pressure from governing bodies, universities and other institutions that try to implement semi-automatized evaluation procedures.
IMU plans to release soon a short statement stressing these basic principles. I hope that this will be a useful tool for all of us who have to plead this cause.
Member at large of the Executive Committee of IMU
Seoul ICM 2014
The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place at COEX in Seoul, Korea, from Wednesday August 13, through Thursday August 21, 2014. The pre-registration process for the ICM 2014 is under way. If you have not yet pre-registered, please do so by following the simple instructions at the homepage:
http://www.icm2014.org. We strongly recommend that you visit the homepage regularly for updated information and ICM related activities. Information will also be sent to pre-registered participants by means of occasional e-mail messages, reminding deadlines or reporting relevant developments.
Here are some important deadlines:
Proposals for satellite activities: until December 31, 2013
Registration at a reduced rate: from January 1 to May 10, 2014
Submission of abstracts for contributions: from January 1 to February 28, 2014
Notice the following important information:
The Satellite Conferences are listed at
The detailed information about the ICM 2014 signature travel grant program is available at
NANUM 2014: 3,608 Applications Received
1,000 mathematicians from developing countries will be invited to Korea during ICM 2014 under the ICM 2014 signature travel grant program, called “NANUM 2014”. NANUM means ‘generoussharing’ in Korean. By October 31, 2013, 3,608 NANUM applications were received. The on line submission system was deactivated on August 31, 2013.
However, by popular demand, the submission site re-opened on October 16, 2013 and closed on October 31, 2013. Now, we are in the process of selecting 1,000 grantees. Reviewing applications will be completed in December, 2013 and an announcement of successful applicants will be in January, 2014. We hope that NANUM may give the opportunity to the people from developing countries to participate in the ICM 2014.
Dec. 31, 2013: Review of Applications completed
Jan. 2014: Notification of acceptance
The Korean Legislature’s Resolution on Supporting SEOUL ICM 2014 At a plenary meeting on November 15, 2013, the National Assembly (i.e. Korean Legislature) of the Republic of Korea overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on supporting SEOUL ICM 2014. The resolution states the followings;
The Korean National Assembly is dedicated to supporting ?SEOUL ICM 2014? to hold a successful congress, will make special efforts to encourage every citizen in all fields, including government, business/industry, press and academia, to participate in and to have interest in the ICM, is aware that the development and the popularization of fundamental science including mathematics is significant to the national competitiveness, and urges the government to provide full support for ?SEOUL ICM 2014?.
ICM Invited Plenary, Sectional, and Special Lectures The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee is delighted to announce the full list of the plenary speakers and sectional invited speakers of Seoul ICM. For the list of confirmed speakers, visit http://icm2014.org/en/program/scientific. Plenary lectures are invited one-hour lectures to be held without other parallel activities. Sectional lectures are invited 45-minute lectures, several of which are scheduled in parallel.
ICM Local Programs
This section gathers other scientific activities mostly promoted or organized by the ICM 2014 Organizing Committee.
The following ICM local programs are already scheduled as of Sep. 31, 2013:
The Public Lecture for a general audience by James Simons, President of Euclidean Capital and Board Chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC, on Aug. 13, 2014,
The Abel Lecture by John Milnor on Aug. 15, 2014, The Panels on the risks of assessment and comparisons in mathematical education, mathematics teaching, and mathematical publicity during Aug. 18-20, 2014.
ICM Event: Call for Application (e.g. meeting and/or reception)
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee welcomes any organization that wishes to plan an event in and around the congress (e.g. meeting and/or reception). Any of the events can be staged at COEX (congress venue) and/or COEX Intercontinental Hotel (350m from COEX) and applications can be submitted to the appointed PCO of the congress, MECI, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once submitted, subsequent price quotes will be issued for applicant’s review. Please return the completed application forms no later than Feb. 28, 2014.
Several institutions have already committed their contribution to ICM 2014, especially for NANUM 2014 program. Any organizations willing to support this important event is invited to contact the Secretariat at email@example.com.
ICM Exhibition: Call for Application
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee invites organizations and colleagues to submit an application for exhibition booths. The ICM 2014 Exhibition is open to any organization, which may seek an opportunity to promote one’s experience, programs, products and services through operating commercial and/or non-commercial booths at the congress. The exhibition will take place in Hall C1 (3F), COEX and the allotment of booths will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications for an exhibition space should be submitted to the appointed PCO of the congress, MECI, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2014. For more details, refer to the Exhibition Prospectus at
We look forward to welcoming you at the congress in Seoul, Korea.
Chairman, ICM 2014 Organizing Committee
IMU on the Web: ORCID is Up and Running
IMU-Net-044 contained a brief description of ORCID (http://www.orcid.org/aboutus), an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to address the challenge of identifying research activities and outputs by linking them to a registry of unique researcher identifiers.
Recently, the ORCID Registry became available for individuals, who can now, free of charge, obtain an ORCID identifier, manage their record of activities, and search for others in the Registry. By signing in and creating an ORCID ID on orcid.org, a researcher attaches a unique identifier to various research output such as as data sets, equipment, articles, media stories, citations, experiments, patents, and notebooks. Currently the profile page only displays Works (publications) while it lists Affiliations, Grants, and Patents as forthcoming.
ORCID connects to institutions and organizations in addition to individuals. Organizations may become members to link their records to ORCID identifiers, to update ORCID records, to receive updates from ORCID, and to register their employees and students for ORCID identifiers. The more organizations ORCID connects, the easier it becomes for an individual to maintain its own research activity record. This enables one to easily fetch publication data from those which have already integrated their own registry with the ORCID service. Currently SCOPUS from Elsevier and ResearcherID from Thomson Reuters have been so integrated.
It remains to be seen what the long-term impact of ORCID will be, particularly in mathematics where author name authority control is already well established through MathSciNet and zbMath. The ORCID system promises to provide interoperability between such systems, but the uptake on collaborative arrangements has so far been slow.
ORCID is a community effort. The news pages at orcid.org carry updates on policy, outreach, and technical development, and additionally also a newsletter at http://orcid.org/newsletter/subscriptions and Twitter @ORCID_Org. ORCID encourages community involvement. The next Outreach meeting will be on May 21, 2014, hosted in Chicago IL, USA - (agenda to be published in March, 2014). You can read about the last Outreach meeting "Developing best practices for integration of ORCID identifiers" at
Olga Caprotti, member CEIC
ICMI News: CANP Projects
A. CANP SEA
The Capacity and Network Project (Mekong Sub-Region) Workshop, known as CANP(MSR), was held from 14th to 25th October in Phnom Phen in Cambodia. Thirty-three participants from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, and an international support team of eight, completed a full programme of workshops in mathematics and mathematics education, as well as national presentations and other events, including a full social programme.
The CANP(MSR) Workshop was opened by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Youth Education and Sport, His Excellency Pit Chamnan. A delegation later met again with the Secretary of State, presenting a report on their recommendations with respect to three questions about mathematics education in Cambodia. In addition, four members of the international team gave presentations at Kemarak university to a group of 150 teachers.
The Workshop has formed a regional grouping, yet to be given a formal name, and plans to meet in 2014, as well as mount other regional activities.
More information can be found here.
For more information, please contact the CANP SEA Program Manager:
Bill Barton: email@example.com
B. CANP 2014 IN TANZANIA
The fourth Capacity and Network Project (CANP4) Program is planned to be held on September 1-12, 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The proposed CANP 4 aims to build capacity in mathematics education and create a sustainable regional network with a common goal of improving mathematics education. It is anticipated that more than 50 participants from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda will attend the two-week program to be held at the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development East Africa, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Participants will mostly be mathematics teachers, teacher educators and curriculum developers with some representation from the international mathematics education community.
Capacity development in mathematics will be around three integrated themes: a) Mathematics for Planet Earth; b) ICT in mathematics education; c) Language and culture in mathematics.
The program includes a variety of highly relevant activities including public lecture(s) demonstrating mathematical modeling on real life issues related to mathematics for Planet Earth; keynote address(es) on significant aspects of mathematics education in the region; teacher development workshops on mathematics topics drawn from the regional high school curriculum; media engagement sessions; and opportunities for the wider community to participate in mathematical activities.
ICMI Liaison Officer: Ferdinando Arzarello, ICMI President Local Program Chair: Anjum Halai, Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development East Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The recipients for 2013 of the Felix Klein and Hans Freudenthal Awards [see ICMI Website] are:
- Michèle Artigue (Université Paris Diderot, France) - The Felix Klein Medal for lifetime achievement in mathematics education research and development.
- Frederick Leung (University of Hong Kong, China) - The Hans Freudenthal Medal for a major cumulative programme of research in comparative studies of mathematics education and on the influence of culture on mathematics teaching and learning.
Find a link to the news and photographs on the ICMI Website.
Heidelberg Laureate Forum: Call for applications
The second Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) will take place from September 21 to 26, 2014 in Heidelberg. Applications from young researchers to attend this Forum will be accepted until February 28, 2014. The HLF is looking for outstanding young mathematicians from all over the world who would like to get a chance to personally meet winners of the most prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science: Fields, Abel, Nevanlinna and Turing Laureates. Details can be found at http://www.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/ https://application.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/intern/start_start_for.php If additional information is needed, please write to:
Ramanujan Prize: Call for nominations
The Ramanujan Prize for young mathematicians from developing countries has been awarded annually since 2005. It is jointly funded and administered by ICTP and the IMU.
February 1, 2014 is the deadline for nominations.
Nominations are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The call can be found at
Stephen Smale Prize: Call for nominations
The second Stephen Smale Prize will be awarded in the meeting Foundations of Computational Mathematics (FoCM) in Montevideo in December 2014.
Nominations (self-nominations excluded) should be sent to FoCM secretary Antonella Zanna at: Antonella.Zanna@math.uib.no
Deadline: 24:00 (GMT), March 10, 2014
For details of of prize rules see
Call for candidates for Ibni Prize 2013
The Prize "Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh" has been created in memory of our colleague and to continue its commitment to Mathematics in Africa. The prize is awarded annually to a young mathematician from Central Africa or West Africa. Applications are evaluated by a scientific committee set up by ICPAM. It funds a scientific visit.
The application must be send by email before December 15th, 2013 to one of the following persons:
- Jean Renault (email: email@example.com)
- Marie-Francoise Roy (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
All the relevant information can be found on
Moving from MPE 2013 to MPE (Mathematics of Planet Earth)
A year now that Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE2013) started…
What has been accomplished and where are we going?
By now, most mathematicians and many more scientists are aware of Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013, the year-long program created to encourage research on a range of topics related to Planet Earth. The distinctive logo has been featured at many conferences, workshops, and lectures. MPE2013 also made its way among the public, the medias and the school. The program has grown to an international year involving more than 140 partners.
The MPE2013 activities included more than 15 long-term programs at institutes all over the world, 60 workshops, dozens of special sessions at society meetings, two big public lecture series, summer and winter schools for graduate students, research experiences for undergraduates, an international competition and an international Open Source MPE Exhibition, special issues of mathematical magazines and the development of high-quality curriculum materials for all ages and grades. All these materials, including the winning designs of the competition, are available free of charge on the web.
What will happen after 2013? Clearly, identifying the research problems is not enough. Mathematics moves slowly, the planetary problems are very challenging and we cannot expect great results in just one year. MPE2013 has been a great start, but we need go further and increase the research efforts on planetary topics in partnership with other disciplines. Hence, MPE2013 moves to a permanent MPE which will support and centralize the initiatives in the different countries. With support from the NSF in the US, the MPE website will be maintained and will post future MPE related events, as well as additional educational and outreach material. Plans for more MPE activities exist in several countries, in the form of workshops, summer schools or even the creation of new graduate programs on Mathematics of Planet Earth.
Among the coming activities for MPE2013 is the coming Diderot Mathematical Forum of the European Mathematical Society, with simultaneous lectures in Berlin (Germany), Exeter (United Kingdom) and Zagreb (Croatia) on December 17th 2013.
All information can be found on the web-page
http://mathematics-in-europe.eu and on the EMS Home Page
The Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013-Plus (MPE 2013+, http://mpe2013.org/mpe2013index/) program in the US consists in educational workshops for young researchers in 2014 and 2015. They are open to non US citizens.
The first Centre for Doctoral Training in the Mathematics of Planet Earth at Imperial College London and University of Reading has just been approved by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSC) in UK:
The fourth Capacity and Network Project (CANP4) Program of ICMI is planned to be held on September 1-12, 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (see item 4.B) .
The proposed CANP 4 aims to build capacity in mathematics education and create a sustainable regional network with a common goal of improving mathematics education. Capacity development in mathematics will be around three integrated themes: a) Mathematics for Planet Earth; b) ICT in mathematics education; c) Language and culture in mathematics.
MPE2013 in Portugal will officially continue till June 2014 with activities linking MPE2013 with the International Year of Crystallography 2014: www.mpt2013.pteclipse-2013.html.
In Australia, an MPE partnership network has been established between Australian government agencies and universities. Young agency staff will engage with university students and academics to increase awareness of the work they do across the maths of planet earth spectrum. MPE exhibitions are held around the world: see