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IMU-Net 71: May 2015

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

Editorial: new Committee on women and mathematics of the IMU

In March 2015 the newly-elected IMU Executive Committee, at its  meeting in Berlin, decided to establish a new Committee for Women in  Mathematics (CWM) to promote international contacts between national and regional  organizations for women in mathematical sciences; maintain up-to-date  content on the Committee for Women in Mathematics part of the IMU  website and, with appropriate assistance from the IMU, to ensure its  technical development; consider how best to facilitate electronic  communications among the community of women mathematicians  internationally; work with groups, committees and commissions of  IMU on topics pertaining to women mathematicians and their  representation;
publicise, and where needed to suggest, working practices that ensure  equal opportunities for women mathematicians in universities and  research institutions, for example appropriate funding arrangements,  family friendly policies and facilities; report annually to the IMU  Executive Committee and to propose actions that would lead to an  improvement in the position women in the mathematical community and to  an increase in the representation of women in mathematics at all levels.

The new CWM will have a chair, a vice-chair and 6-8 members at large,  with one member having specific responsibility for the CWM web site  and electronic communication. Membership of CWM, which will be for  four years terms coinciding with the terms of the IMU Executive  Committee, should be widely distributed internationally and the CWM  should meet at least once a year, preferably by video-conferencing. A  member of the IMU Executive Committee will liaise with the CWM and  attend meetings while remaining outside the committee.

CWM will have a budget from IMU that can be used to support meetings  of the committee (electronic or in person), contacts between regional  women-in-mathematics organizations and committee members, and for  expenses such as those needed to establish and maintain international  or regional websites and support regional meetings. The funds granted  from the IMU budget will be administered by the IMU Office.

Management of funds specifically donated from other bodies or persons  to support the purposes of CWM may be done through the Friends of IMU.

Membership of the Committee for Women in Mathematics (2014-18)
Chair:  Marie-Françoise Roy (France)
Vice-chair and responsibility for the website: Caroline Series (UK)
Members at large:
Carolina Araujo (Brazil); Bill Barton (New Zealand);  Ari Laptev  (Sweden and UK); Kristin Lauter (USA); Sunsook Noh (South  Korea); Marie Francoise Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso); Sujatha Ramdorai  (India); Betul Tanbay (Turkey)  
with  John Toland (UK) as the IMU Executive Committee  observer.

This committee should expect to serve until the next IMU General  Assembly, which is to be held in Brazil in 2018. To set the ball  rolling its first meeting will be face-to-face in Cortona, Italy, on  the 4th and 5th September 2015, immediately after the 17th General  Meeting of European Women in Mathematics

John Toland (IMU EC 2014-18)

CEIC Notes and Comments: Quick Reads, Recent Developments

Recently seen on the internet, we wish to alert the mathematical  community to these developments.

  1. The Holtzbrinck Publishing Group has been cleared by regulators  for its merger with Springer S+B Media. The resulting company will be  the second largest behind Elsevier. It's name will be Springer Nature.
  2. New statement from Elsevier regarding its policy on sharing manuscripts. It seems that questions and clarifications are flowing in reaction, so  the actual impact is not very clear.
  3. Finally, noted mathematician David Mumford, has posted the  following on his blog.

Call for suggestions for applications to ICSU

IMU is calling for suggestions for applications to the ICSU 2016 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)
    The proposed activity should take place between January 1st 2016 and  September 30 2017.
  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 June 30 2015 to Christiane Rousseau: rousseac(at)

News from ICSU: The Visibility of ICSU

One of the recurring subjects that come up for discussion in ICSU  (International Council of Science) General Assembly meetings is its  low level of visibility. This is something we are all familiar with in  our respective scientific communities; when we ask our colleagues if  they know what ICSU is, most of them have no knowledge of this  institution. On the other hand, most mathematicians, physicists,  chemists, astronomers and so on know their own respective unions very  well (IMU, IUPAP, IUPAC, IAU,…).

What are the reasons for this situation and what can be done to remedy  it? ICSU is a kind of agent that drives forward great projects of  enormous importance for our planet (take, for example, the ambitious  Future Earth program), and thus for the future of the human species.  It is perhaps here where the main drawback lies that prevents the  institution from being better known: it is aimed at governments,  scientists and society in general with projects that require the  combination of many sciences at once (even social sciences are vital  at ICSU). At present, ICSU consists of 31 members of scientific  unions, 121 national members representing 141 countries, and 23  international associate scientists. It maintains relations with  UNESCO, the UN and scientific academies all over the world, and to  make its role more effective it has set up three Regional Offices  covering a wide area: the ROA (Africa), the ROAP (Asia and the  Pacific) and the ROLAC (Latin America and the Caribbean). This  necessary multidisciplinarity and relocation, as well as the general  nature of the undertaking, blunts the impact in each of the different  disciplines, which are more accustomed to working within the confines  of their own frontiers.

Nevertheless, ICSU carries out very important activities, such as  acting as a lobby to persuade governments and funding agencies to get  involved in great sustainability projects and scientific development,  as well as defending the universal nature of science, the free access  of everyone to science, the free circulation of scientists, and the  role of research as a guarantor of well-being.

How can this Council achieve the social impact that it deserves? We at  ICSU Executive Board are aware that efforts must be made to step up  communication both with society and with scientists. The institution  has a press office that will be strengthened in the coming months,  while its image and website will also undergo substantial improvement.  A greater visibility of ICSU will eventually bring a greater  visibility for science and its importance.

Nevertheless, all scientists, whatever their specialty, should be  prepared to contribute to making ICSU more well-known; this is already  an obligation for all we who belong to its Executive Committee. ICSU  is necessary and its work has been decisive since its foundation in  1931. We refer the reader to the website for a brief  history of the institution, and also suggest that he or she read the  book Science International: A History of the International Council,  written by Frank Greenaway, published in 1996 by Cambridge University  Press, which will undoubtedly change one’s view of ICSU.

Manuel de León (ICMAT-CSIC), member of the ICSU Executive Board

Announcement of the workshop "Global change impact on diseases and alien species expansion" supported by ICSU

Workshop "Global change impact on diseases and alien species  expansion" to take place at the African Institute for Mathematical  Sciences (AIMS), in Cape Town, South Africa on May 2-6 2016.

The International Mathematical Union (IMU), the International Union of  Biological Sciences (IUBS), the International Union of Immunological  Societies (IUIS), the International Union of Microbiological Societies  (IUMS), the International Social Science Council (ISSC). the  International Council of INdustrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM),  the ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA), ecoHEALTH from Future  Earth, the International Society for Biometeorology (ISB), the African  Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the South African  Mathematical Society (SAMS), the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for  Invasion Biology (CIB) and Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE) are  co-organizing a capacity building workshop "Global change impact on  diseases and alien species expansion" supported by the International  Council of Science (ICSU).

This international, interdisciplinary, educational and capacity  building workshop will bring together the two subjects of infectious  diseases and invasive species and the context of climate change, thus  allowing sharing the methods and building partnerships. The workshop  will address the whole range of topics from field-work and collecting  of data to the building and validating of models, to the adjustment of  models to take into account the changing environment and the social  characteristics, and to the design and implementation of strategies to  fight infectious diseases and invasive species. Special emphasis will  be put on African diseases and invasive species, as well as the  characteristics of changing environment in Africa.

The workshop is mostly aimed to young researchers and postgraduate  students, with a majority coming from Africa. International experts  from around the world will give the minicourses and lectures and will  lead the working groups. There will be a limited number of contributed  talks and a poster session.

Applications: the website will be open for applications around October  2015. The workshop is planned for 50 participants. The participants  from Africa will receive full funding.

Organizers: Jacek Banasiak (South Africa)
Christiane Rousseau (Canada)

Abel Prize 2015

John F. Nash Jr. and Louis Nirenberg received the Abel Prize from His  Majesty King Harald V at an award ceremony at the University Aula in  Oslo on 19st of May 2015 “for striking and seminal contributions to  the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its  applications to geometric analysis.”

John F. Nash Jr., aged 86, spent his career at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Louis Nirenberg, aged 90, worked at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Even though they did not formally collaborate on any papers, they influenced each other greatly during the 1950s. The results of their work are felt more strongly today than ever before.

For more information please consult the Abel Prize website (English).

Passing away of John Forbes Nash, Jr. and his wife Alicia

It is with great sadness that the International Mathematical Union  learnt the tragic deaths of John Nash and his wife Alicia, in a car  accident, on May 23, 2015. This occurred a mere four days after Nash  received the Abel Prize from the hands of the Norwegian King for  striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial  differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis. John Nash shared a Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994, the year before  he joined the Princeton mathematics department as a senior research  mathematician.
IMU send its condolences to all of his and Alicia's family and friends.

Nomination for the 2016 Breakthrough Prize and a new prize

The nominations website for the 2016 Breakthrough Prizes is opened,  and a new prize in the mathematics category is announced.
In addition to the main Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, up to three  $100,000 New Horizons in Mathematics Prizes available annually for  junior researchers who have already made important contributions are  made.

This is the first public call for nominations for these prizes, and  this year's Selection Committee is comprised of Simon Donaldson, Maxim  Kontsevich, Jacob Lurie, Terence Tao and Richard Taylor.

For more information and to make a nomination, please visit the website.

News from AMU: African Mathematical Schools

The African Mathematical Union (AMU) in collaboration with CIMPA is  requesting proposals for African Mathematical Schools (AMS) to be  organized in 2016 from Mathematical Scientists and Institutions in all  regions of the African continent. Proposals should be sent by email to before October 1st, 2015.

Call for Special Session Proposals at the Mathematical Congress of the Americas 2017 (MCA2017)

Proposals  of special sessions at MCA 2017 are welcomed by the Special  Sessions Subcommittee. Early submission of proposals is encouraged:
good proposals will be approved on a regular basis before the  deadline, so that session speakers may be invited in plenty of time to  make travel and funding arrangements.

A proposal should include :

  • the names, affiliations and contact information (including email  addresses) of all the organizers, with one organizer designated as  “contact organizer",
  • a brief presentation of the topic and scope (up to one page),
  • a preliminary list of the expected speakers.

The topics should be broad and fairly well represented throughout the  Americas. The list of organizers must include at least two mathematicians from different countries in the Americas. Preference will be given to proposals whose list of suggested speakers represents  diversity in all aspects.

Each special session will consist of two 4-hour periods. We recommend  that the organizers base their sessions on a total of 16 half-hour time slots for their speakers.

Although it is anticipated that limited financial support will be  available to help with expenses of some of the participants, at  present we cannot promise financial support for the special sessions.

Proposals should be sent to before July 31, 2016.

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