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IMU-Net 67: September 2014

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


Welcome to IMU-Net. I am Shigefumi Mori, President elect of IMU. Since this is my first time to be here, I would like to introduce myself and explain how I view the IMU Presidency.

I am an algebraic geometer based in Japan and have visited many countries since 1977. I served IMU Executive Committee (EC) as Member during 1995 - 1998 and as Vice President during 1999 - 2002. It was a good experience and I understand the basic structure and function of IMU. When I was asked if I was willing to be a candidate for IMU President, I thought I had already graduated from the IMU business since I had finished my IMU EC service ten years before. I would like to explain why I accepted after all to be the candidate.

I served my institute as Director during April 2011 - March 2014. Thanks to the cooperation of the highly capable administrative staff and excellent colleagues, I could successfully serve the term and I am very grateful to them. As a mathematician I had worked mainly alone and had not paid much attention to managing an organization. But during the directorship I appreciated and even enjoyed the cooperation, and I learned to think as Director. Furthermore while the directorship was for the institute alone, the IMU Presidency is for the global mathematical community and more worthwhile to devote myself to. These together pushed me to accept the offer.
Thanks to the thoughtful arrangement of the current EC, I and Professor Helge Holden, the IMU Secretary elect, could attend the ICM2014 related events together and made a good team. I thought that the EC activities were more complex than those during my previous service and that IMU EC was performing more systematic activities, which I should keep in mind for the next term. Fortunately all the elected members of the next EC happened to be at ICM2014. We made a very timely start, and I feel confidence in the next IMU EC.

There are important issues in front of us.

The aim of IMU is the promotion of international cooperation of mathematics, and one of the most important topics is the next ICM. It will take place in 2018 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first ICM site ever in the southern hemisphere. IMU will organize it jointly with the Local Organizing Committee chaired by Professor Marcelo Viana of IMPA. I am happy to announce Professor János Kollár of Princeton University as the chair of the Program Committee. We have started preparing for ICM2018 though our official term starts in January 2015.

Until ICM2002, the ICM which I served last time, the Fields Medal and the Nevanlinna Prize were the only IMU prizes and they are awarded to young mathematicians under forty for their eminent achievements. Now IMU awards three more IMU prizes, on which there is no age restriction. The Gauss Prize is for an impact outside mathematics, the Chern Medal is for a lifetime achievement, and naturally their recipients are widely known mathematicians. The Leelavati Prize is for outstanding public outreach work for mathematics and its recipient is not necessarily a mathematician. This way, IMU celebrates a variety of achievements at ICM2014 and I do support it.

ICM2014 was marked by the first woman President and the first woman Fields Medalist as well as remarkable activities of women mathematicians including the International Congress of Women Mathematicians. In order to maintain and promote the trend, the current EC has decided to set up a committee for women in mathematics. The next EC will continue promoting the movement.

The mathematical activities in developing countries/areas have been flourishing in recent years as symbolized by the fact that among the Field Medalists and the Nevanlinna Prize recipient of ICM2014 are mathematicians from Brazil, Iran and India. I am very happy to see it, and IMU hopes to encourage and cooperate with the mathematical communities in those countries/areas to promote mathematics together.

There are other issues which have also been handed over to the next IMU EC.

Like the case of directorship, President cannot fulfill anything alone. I look forward to creating a network with colleagues all over the world and enjoying working together.

Shigefumi Mori
President elect of IMU

Report on ICM2014

The 27th International Congress of Mathematicians (SEOUL ICM 2014) has completed in a great success! Here is some footage of its nine-days-long journey. A total of 5,217 registrants and 21,578 non-registered visitors participated in the Congress. This year’s Congress has been exceptionally rich in cultural and special activities to serve as a steppingstone in expanding the role of mathematics for the broader community.

Seoul ICM was preceded by a daylong program of MENAO workshop (Mathematics in Emerging Nations, achievements and opportunities) on August 12, in which some successful developing country assistance programs were introduced and coordinated efforts for future programs were discussed.

The Opening Ceremony on the 13th marked the beginning of this global festival of mathematicians, with the announcement of the recipients of the IMU prizes: the Fields Medalists, Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer and Maryam Mirzakhani, the Nevanlinna Prize Winner, Subhash Khot, the Gauss Prize Winner, Stanley Osher and the Chern Prize Winner, Phillip Griffiths recieved their prize at this ceremony while the Leelavati Prize Winner was awarded to Adrián Paenza during the Closing Ceremony on August 21.

A total of 1,278 research presentations were made during this congress. These include 5 awards lectures, 9 laudations and special lectures, 19 plenary lectures, 188 invited lectures, 657 contributed talks and 400 poster presentations.

Diverse cultural performances, both traditional and modern, embellished the Conference Dinner on the August 16, including a fusion performance of Korean instrumentals and B-Boying, and a demonstration of Taekwondo.

Two public lectures, My Life in Mathematics by James Simons and The Wrong Door by Adrián Paenza, took place on the 13th and the 20th of August, respectively.

The NIMS Imaginary Exhibition was the most visited program, drawing numerous groups of students and parents.

Baduk (Go) event brought further pizzazz to the Congress. Having invited five prominent professional Baduk players, 25 lucky participants were graced with the opportunity to play against them. Other participants enjoyed watching these simultaneous games both onsite and in front of screens airing the event. Three Baduk lectures that preceded the games peaked interest and anticipation about this traditional combinatorial game.

Math movie night on August 19th was enjoyed by many who gathered to watch “How I Came to Hate Maths” and engage in a Q&A session with Cédric Villani, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and Gert-Martin Greuel.

Altogether, the ICM public program drew a massive public audience of 21,227, excluding the registered ICM participants.

We sincerely thank all of our colleagues and friends from every corners of the globe who have supported immensely for the Seoul ICM. The miracle of the Congress is to continue in Rio de Janeiro!

Hyungju Park, Chairman of ICM 2014 Organizing Committee

CEIC Notes and Comments: recent Global Digital Mathematics Library developments

Report on recent Global Digital Mathematics Library (GDML) developments

1. A meeting to discuss the next steps towards realizing the GDML was held August 17 at ICM2014 in Seoul and attended by 14 in person and 8 remote participants. Following a wide-ranging afternoon discussion, an eight person working group (WG) was created, under the sponsorship of the IMU:
Patrick Ion (Chair), Thierry Bouche, Bruno Buchberger, Michael Kohlhase, Jim Pitman, Olaf Teschke, Stephen Watt, Eric Weisstein.

The group began meeting immediately after the main session.  It has been charged with, before the end of the year, designing a road map for the practical next steps towards the GDML, determining its organizational structure, prioritizing the different requirements for its implementation, estimating an incremental budget, both start-up and sustaining funds, and fostering the writing of proposals to funding organizations. Inputs and ideas can be sent directly to Patrick Ion:

2.  The World Digital Mathematics Library (WDML) was the topic of a successful and wide-ranging Panel Discussion at ICM2014 in Seoul on August 20, moderated by Peter Olver.
The panelists were Thierry Bouche, Ingrid Daubechies, Gert-Martin Greuel, Patrick Ion, Rajeeva Karandikar, and June Zhang.  Further details, including links to the panel brief and background materials can be found on the CEIC web site.
while a videotape of the entire panel discussion appears on Youtube:

3. As a result of the Meeting and the Panel, the IMU has initiated a WDML blog, with Peter Olver serving as moderator:
All are encouraged to submit posts and to publicize the blog with the community at large.

4. The CEIC will be setting up a moderated email list for people interested in the WDML/GDML, to encourage additional discussions amongst experts. The address will be, but only members can post to the list without approval. To ask to join the list send an email to me:

I am convinced that there is now real potential for significant progress on the realization of the GDML, and am looking forward to the results of the WG and the development of the WDML blog.

Peter Olver, chair of CEIC

General Assembly of ICSU

The International Council of Science (ICSU) held its General Assembly on September 1-3, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. iMU was represented by Manuel de Leon and Christiane Rousseau. Cheryl Praeger, member-at-large of the IMU Executive Committee represented Australia at this General Assembly. The General Assembly elected the Executive Board of ICSU for the next three years. Three mathematicians have been elected on this Executive Board.
Professor Daya Reddy from South Africa, who was an invited  speaker at ICM 2014, became the new President-elect of ICSU. He will take over from the current ICSU President, Gordon McBean, in October 2017. See the press release

Former IMU President John Ball and current IMU EC member Manuel de Leon were elected Ordinary Members of the ICSU Executive Board (John Ball is going to serve his second term on the Board) till October 2017.

Considering that several of these activities of ICSU are of interest to mathematicians, IMU-Net will introduce a new section (ICSU News) on a regular basis.


The International Council for Science and Open Access

The International Council for Science (ICSU) is an umbrella organization whose members are national academies of science and international scientific unions, and to which IMU belongs. At its recent General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand, the International Council for Science made a strong statement concerning open access to scientific data and literature (for the full report, which also covers the assessment of research by metrics, see ).

The report stakes out 5 key goals for open access, namely that   access to the scientific record should be
(i) free of financial barriers for any researcher to contribute to;
(ii) free of financial barriers for any user to access immediately on publication;
(iii) made available without restriction on reuse for any purpose, subject to proper attribution;
(iv) quality-assured and published in a timely manner; 
(v) archived and made available in perpetuity.

Among various recommendations concerning open access, the report says that ways should be developed for signposting to authors and  readers those journals and data repositories that have the necessary quality assurance and secure archiving  processes in place, and  that authors provide explicit references to the data sets underlying published papers, using unique persistent identifiers, as well as to any software or code used. It also recommends that the terms of contracts governing the purchase of scientific periodicals and databases by libraries serving universities and research establishments should be publicly available.

John Ball, member of ICSU Executive Board

Report on ICWM 2014

The International Congress of Women Mathematicians 2014 (ICWM 2014) was   successfully held on August 12th and 14th in Seoul, Korea with over 500 attendees representing more than 50 countries.
The meeting was held at Ewha Womans University on the 12th and at the COEX ICM 2014 venue on the 14th. This meeting was especially timely for women mathematicians around the world since Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani of Stanford University became the first woman mathematician to be awarded the Fields Medal at the opening ceremony of ICM 2014. An internationally cooperative effort of the International Mathematical Union, the Local Organizing Committee in Korea, the Korean Women in Mathematical Sciences, the International Program Committee and the International Advisory Committee helped to make ICWM 2014 a truly special global event. In particular, the Local Organizing Committee of ICWM 2014 provided travel grants to 100 of the 1,000 NANUM Travel Grant recipients of ICM 2014 through the initiated the ‘Together Travel Grant Project (TOGETHER 2014)’, thus allowing participation of women from all parts of the world to both ICWM 2014 and ICM 2014. ICWM 2014 brought together many women who were given the opportunity to see, learn, and understand from each other about the field of mathematics and the dedication required to succeed in this difficult career field. The meeting provided a sense of community and a sense of connection to women in mathematics around the world, from students to experienced educators and researchers.
The two day program consisted of the 2014 ICM Emmy Noether lecture by Georgia Benkart (USA) together with 7 plenary lectures given by invited speakers around the world (Laura Demarco, USA; Isabel Dotti, Argentina; Motoko Kotani, Japan; Hee Oh, USA; Gabriella Tarantello, Italy; Donna Testerman, Switzerland),  a special lecture from Ingrid Daubechies, IMU President, a poster presentation session by about 100 presenters around the world (20 of which received a best poster award), a Mathematics-Arts Workshop led by Reza Sarhangi of Towson University, a panel discussion about issues surrounding women in mathematics led by invited panel members representing different regions of the world (Shihoko Ishii, Japan; Soon-Yi Kang, Korea; Barbara Keyfitz, USA; Marie Francoise Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso; Marie-Francoise Roy, France; Dongmei Xiao, China), finally a WiM-Networking ICWM banquet.
The WiM-Networking banquet was a time of celebration, and networking as short presentations introduced the major women in math organizations in U.S., Africa, Europe, Korea, and the newly created international Women in Mathematics Committee of IMU by their representatives (Ruth Charney, AWM; Marie Francois Ouedraogo, AWMA; Marie-Francoise Roy, EWM; Pyung-Lyun Kang, KWMS; Ingrid Daubechies, IMU/WiMC).
Information about ICWM 2014 including the program book and the photos of the attendees of the meeting can be found on the website

Sunsook Noh, Chair of Local Organizing Committee

IMAGINARY panel at ICM2014

Vision Slam: Mathematics communication for the future After an introduction into the mathematics communication platform IMAGINARY by the project’s scientific advisor Gert-Martin Greuel, the panelists presented their approaches to and visions for mathematics communication of the future in a ‘vision slam'. First, Cédric Villani recounted how he became a mathematics communicator via the receipt of his Fields medal and the subsequent media attention. He illustrated how he is able to attract attention and stimulate interest in mathematics by means of being personal and by telling people about but not necessarily explaining or breaking down the details of a mathematical theory. Next, David Grünberg, a mathematics teacher and member of the IMAGINARY team, presented ideas of how to use tools like IMAGINARY’s SURFER software to enhance mathematics instruction. His vision is that mathematicians and the mathematics research community support mathematics teachers by providing materials for schools, for example via the IMAGINARY platform. Afterwards, Carla Cederbaum reported on a new project of the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (MFO), the ’snapshots of modern mathematics from Oberwolfach’, of which she is the senior editor. The snapshots are short accessible texts written by the participants of the workshops at the MFO, edited by a team of young editors and distributed on the IMAGINARY platform. Her vision is that teachers and journalists use the snapshots to find out about modern mathematics and mathematical research. Then, the chair of the ICM organizing committee and initiator of the NIMS-IMAGINARY exhibition at ICM, Hyungju Park gave an overview over mathematics communication activities in Korea. In particular, he presented the lecture series KAOS — Knowledge Awake On Stage — that features lectures enhanced by stage effects, given by experts in various sectors of academia and society including natural scientists, social scientists, writers, critics, musicians, and artists, each of which is followed by a conversation with two host mathematicians.


Moderator: Alicia Dickenstein, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Carla Cederbaum, MFO and University of Tübingen, Germany Gert-Martin Greuel, MFO and University of Kaiserslautern, Germany David Grünberg, International School of Lausanne, Switzerland Hyungju Park, National Institute of Mathematical Sciences, South Korea Cédric Villani, Institut Henri Poincaré, France

African Mathematical Union (AMU) news

AMUCWMA 2015 Conference
The African Mathematical Union Commission for Women and Mathematics in Africa (AMUCWMA) 2015 Conference / Workshop will take place at Bandari College in Mombasa, Kenya between 16th-18th of July 2015. The theme of the conference/workshop is “Women in Mathematics for Social Change and Sustainable Livelihoods”. The conference is supported by CIMPA and is intended for African women mathematicians and women postgraduate students in Mathematical Sciences in Africa.
For detail information, please contact Prof. Marie Françoise Ouedraogo – President AMUCWMA (

Stephen Smale Prize

The second Stephen Smale Prize will be awarded at the FoCM'14 meeting (Foundations of Computational Mathematics) in Montevideo on December 13th, 2014 to Carlos Beltrán (University of Cantabria, Spain) and Mark Braverman (Princeton University, USA).
The winners received a "Gömböc" as the prize. More about the Gömböc ican be found at :

Luis Santaló Medal

The Executive Committee of the Inter-American Committee on Mathematics Education (iACME, has awarded the Luis Santaló Medal to the French Researcher and Educator, Michèle Artigue (France), ex President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction.
This medal is the most important international recognition awarded by IACME. It carries the name of Luis Santaló, who was a Spanish-Argentinian mathematician and educator, President of IACME, and who contributed significantly to the teaching and learning of Mathematics in Latin America.
It is presented every four years to someone who has provided considerable support to the actions of IACME and to Mathematics Education in the Americas. The medal will be presented on May 3, 2015 during the inaugural ceremonies of IACME XIV ( in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas (México).

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