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IMU-Net 64: March 2014

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


Following a proposal made by the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), 2014 has been declared the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014), according to a decision taken by the United Nations and approved at its 66th General Assembly held on June 3rd, 2012. The official opening ceremony was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on January 20th of this year.
The International Year of Crystallography commemorates two outstanding events:
1) The centenary of the diffraction of X-rays, which enabled the study of crystalline material. It is appropriate to recall that X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Röntgen (Nobel Prize-Winner in 1901). Max Von Lauë (Nobel Prize-Winner in 1914) subsequently discovered the diffraction of X-rays by crystals and verified their wavelength. Later, Sir William Henry Bragg and his son, William, (Nobel Prize-Winners in 1915) determined the crystalline structure of many minerals and arrived at a simple formulation for how X-rays are diffracted in crystals (according to the so-called Bragg Law).
2) The 400th anniversary of Johannes Kepler’s observation in 1611 of the symmetrical hexagonal shape of ice crystals in his work Strena seu de Nive Sexangula, which led to the study of the role of symmetries in matter. At Christmas, 1610, Johannes Kepler was crossing the Charles Bridge in Prague, thinking about what might be the best New Year’s present to give his friend and benefactor Johannes Matthäus Wäckher von Wackenfelds. A snowflake fell on his overcoat, and Kepler was prompted to ask himself the following questions about it: Why did snowflakes all have a hexagonal shape? Why didn’t they have five corners or seven? He thought that this subject might provide the basis for an essay, which would provide an excellent New Year’s present for his patron. Thus, he came to write “Strena seu de nive sexángula”  (On The Six-cornered Snowflake), a booklet of scarcely 24 pages that is indeed a masterpiece and which contains the Kepler Conjecture, eventually proved a few years ago by Thomas Hales.
The International Crystallography Union (IUCr) is an international scientific union which, like the International Mathematical Union (IMU), forms part of the ICSU, the International Council of Science, which preserves the initials of its former name, the International Council of Scientific Unions. The aims of the IUCr are to promote international cooperation in crystallography and research into the subject; to create standardized methods regarding techniques, units and symbols, and also to provide a focus point for the relations of crystallography with other sciences.
The International Year of Crystallography
In collaboration with other institutions from all over the world, the IUCr has planned an enormous number of events throughout the year. These are the main objectives of the IYCr2014:

  • To increase public interest in the science of crystallography and highlight its involvement in the technological development of modern society.
  • To inspire young people by means of exhibitions, talks and laboratories in schools.
  • To illustrate the universal nature of science.
  • To intensify the Crystallography in Africa program and create similar programs in Asia and Latin America.
  • To encourage international cooperation among scientists from all over the world, especially as regards North-South contributions.
  • To promote research into crystallography and its relations with other sciences.
  • To include the synchrotron and neutron facilities in this year’s celebration, as well as the SESAME project under the auspices of UNESCO. Let us recall that SESAME refers to a source of synchrotron light that acts like a gigantic microscope and will enable researchers from Jordan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey to study the properties of advanced materials and biological processes as well as undertake cultural work. The project also aims to make a contribution to peace in the area by means of scientific cooperation.

To follow the activities of the IYCr2014, take a look at its excellent website:

Crystallography and Mathematics
Both sciences are closely related, as shown clearly by the two events that motivate the celebration of this international year. Let us not forget that symmetries are what lie behind the concept of thegroup developed by Evariste Galois. Hence, algebra and geometry have often gone hand in hand in crystallography. But the Fourier Transform and in general the whole of mathematical analysis have also played a key role in diffraction.
The IMU sends its very best wishes to the IUCr and its congratulations for the great success of this year.

Manuel de Leon, member at large of the IMU

Seoul ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place at COEX in Seoul, Korea, from August 13 through August 21, 2014. It is time to register and book your accommodation!
You can do so by following the simple instructions at its homepage:

Here are some important deadlines:

  • Registration at a reduced rate: from January 6 to May 10, 2014
  • IMU GA registration: from January 17 to May 31, 2014

The 53 ICM 2014 Satellite Conferences are listed at

  • NANUM 2014: Detailed grant guidelines were sent out.
    The second letter including award details was sent out to NANUM grantees via email. Special rates for dormitory reservations are available for NANUM 2014 (including TOGETHER) grantees until May 10, 2014. From May 11, 2014, other congress participants may proceed with remaining dormi-tory reservations on a first-come-first-serve basis. More information can be found at
  • Abstracts Submission: 1,975 Abstracts Received from 110 Countries. By popular demand, the abstract submission deadline for the SEOUL ICM 2014 was extended to Mar. 14, 2014. By the new due date, 1,975 abstracts were received. The abstracts will be reviewed by the end of March, and the review results will be announced by Apr. 10, 2014.

  • ICM Invited Plenary, Sectional, and Special Lectures
    The full list and schedule of the plenary speakers and sectional invited speakers is available at

  • ICM Events: Call for Proposals (e.g. meeting and/or reception)
    We welcome any organization to plan a reception or a meeting in and around the congress (e.g. meeting and/or reception). Applications can be sent via email at Once submit-ted, subsequent price quotes will be issued for applicant’s review.

  • ICM Exhibitions: Call for Proposals
    The ICM exhibition booths are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Application for an exhibi-tion space should be submitted via email at 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.

Hyungju Park, Chairman of ICM 2014 Organizing Committee

From the chair of the Program Committee for ICM2014

The Program Committee (PC) for ICM 2014 had as its charge from the Executive Committee of the IMU to plan and organize the scientific program of ICM 2014. The general structure of the program chosen by the PC was similar to that of previous ICMs. There are going to be 21 plenary lectures and 181 sectional lectures in 19 different sections. The speakers chosen come from 28 different countries. In addition, there will be 3 panel discussions in Section 18, Mathematics and Popularization of Mathematics. The sectional speakers were chosen by the PC, mostly following the nominations made by the sectional panels appointed by the PC. The plenary speakers were chosen by the PC, following recommendations made by the sectional panels, mathematical societies and individuals, as well as the PC’s own suggestions. I am very grateful to the many mathematicians, from all over the world, who generously helped  the PC carry out the very difficult and delicate task that was entrusted to us.  The PC is extremely excited about the quality, depth, breadth and diversity of the scientific program of ICM 2014. We sincerely hope that all the attendees will share this feeling and that they will greatly enjoy and profit from their experiences at ICM 2014.
See you in Seoul!

Carlos E.Kenig
Chair, Program Committee, ICM 2014

CEIC Panel Discussions at ICM 2014

The Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) is organizing three evening panel discussions at the upcoming ICM in Seoul, Korea. These are:

  1. Monday, August 18, 18-19:30 Panel on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and new developments in online education, and their impact on research, teaching, and education throughout the world.  This session will be held in conjunction with the “How can we teach better” panel/round table to be organized by ICMI. See ICMI/CEIC 2013 survey:

  2. Tuesday, August 19, 18-19:30 Panel on the Future of Mathematical Publishing. 
    This will include such topics as journal rankings and metrics, open access, publishing costs and ethics, the cost of knowledge boycott, new models of publishing, epijournals, and related developments.

  3. Wednesday, August 20, 18-19:30
    A presentation and discussion of the World Digital Mathematics Library, covering recent initiatives funded by the Sloan Foundation, including a workshop at the National Academy of Sciences in 2012, a Report issued by the National Research Council in March, 2014, and future prospects.

Further details will be presented in the next issue of IMU-Net.

Call for suggestions for an IMU application to ICSU

IMU is calling for suggestions for applications to the ICSU grant program. Grants are up to 30,000 Euros. It is recommended that projects meet some of the following criteria:

  1. The project fits within one of ICSU's priorities:
    a) Science and Technology for Sustainable Development
    b) Capacity Building and Science Education
    c) Dissemination of Data and/or Information from Science and Technology
    d) Emerging Science -- Creation of New Knowledge.
    (see for ICSU Strategic Plan)

  2. The project involves at least one other scientific union inside ICSU.

  3. The project has some capacity building objective in one of the ICSU regional offices: ROLAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), ROA (Africa), ROAP (Asia Pacific).

A one page letter of intention should be sent by May 15 2015 to Christiane Rousseau:

The Fields Medal Symposium 2014

November 17 - 20 2014 at the Fields Institute, Toronto, Canada

The Fields Medal Symposium 2014 will honour the work of Cedric Villani (Fields Medal 2010) (Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris, Université of Lyon).
The title of the Symposium is: "The many facets of entropy: Kinetic Theory, Optimal Transport, Geometry".

The goals of the program for the Fields Medal Symposium are to present the work of the medalist and its impact, to explore the potential for future directions and areas of its influence, to provide inspiration to the next generations of mathematicians and scientists, as well as to present the medalist to a broader public. The theme of the symposium program this year is the concept of entropy, and the variety of its aspects that pervade many scientific topics, including analysis, physics and geometry. The scientific program of the symposium is aimed at a wide audience, including graduate students, mathematicians in other research areas, and scientists who use mathematics in an important way. This year, it will be focused on aspects of Dr. Villani's work, and its current and future potential impact. Theme areas include the mathematics of kinetic theory, optimal transportation, and transport phenomena in a broad variety of applications.

The Fields Medal Symposia feature public events and events for students. This year, the plan is for the scientific program to run from Monday to Thursday, with more detailed scientific seminars in the mornings, and colloquium style and public lectures taking place in the afternoon program. Events that are centered about presentations to high school and undergraduate university students will occupy a full day, and are planned to include an encounter with high school students (in French) at the Lycée Français de Toronto in the morning, and a second session with high school and undergraduate students (in English) in the afternoon at the Fields Institute. One of the evenings will feature, in conjunction with the Alliance Française of Toronto, the showing of one or several films, some which feature Dr. Villani and other well known mathematicians; titles include Olivier Peyon's film "Comment j'ai detesté les maths" (How I came to hate math). The short film festival will be followed by a panel discussion. The coming Symposium includes evening public lectures, including one by Cedric Villani. There will also be short remarks and greetings by a number of well known Canadian public figures and by members of the French diplomatic corps, all followed by a reception.

All events of the Fields Medal Symposium, including the public lectures, will be broadcast on line in real time, and will also be archived for future access.

More information on

Abel Prize 2014

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2014 to Yakov G. Sinai of Princeton University, USA, and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, "for his fundamental contributions to dynamical systems, ergodic theory, and mathematical physics".
Yakov G. Sinai will receive the Abel Prize from His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at an award ceremony in Oslo on 20 May.

For more information:

The IMU congratulates Yakov Sinai on receiving this well-deserved award!

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) was proclaimed on 20 December 2013 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

This International Year has been the initiative of a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO working together since 2009, and will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.  IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studiesof optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

The theme of light is ideal to promote links between many different disciplines, and of course many of the pioneers of the science of light have also made seminal contributions to mathematics.  Moreover, many areas of leading edge research in photonics such as nonlinear optics and telecommunications involve major collaborations between physics, engineering and pure and applied mathematics, and we look forward to many exciting joint meetings and events during 2015 focusing on these exciting developments.

A project related to IYL 2015 could be considered for an IMU application to ICSU (see item 5).

More details at:

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