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About the ICHM

The International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) is an inter-union commission joining the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the Division of the History of Science (DHS) of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS). It is composed of representatives of some fifty-five nations, those nations internationally in which the history of mathematics is taught and/or actively researched. The ICHM has the following international aims:

  • to encourage the study of the history of mathematics; and
  • to promote a high level of historically and mathematically sophisticated scholarship in the field.

The ICHM works toward these goals first and foremost through its official journal, Historia Mathematica. Founded in 1974 by Kenneth O. May, Historia Mathematica is currently under the editorship of Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze (University of Agder, Norway) and Nathan Sidoli (Waseda University, Japan) and publishes original research on the history of the mathematics in all periods and in all cultural settings.

The ICHM also seeks to promote and encourage the history of mathematics through a variety of other activities, most notably:

  • sponsoring or co-sponsoring scientific symposia at the International Congresses of the History of Science and of Mathematics, at meetings of national history of science and mathematics societies, and at other conferences
  • awarding, once every four years on the occasion of the International Congress of the History of Science, the Kenneth O. May Medal to historians of mathematics for outstanding contributions to the history of mathematics
  • awarding, once every four years, the Montucla Prize to the author of the best article by a junior scholar published in Historia Mathematica in the four years preceding the International Congress of History of Science and Technology

Terms of Reference of the ICHM

A joint commission of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the Division of the History of Science and Technology of the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST/DHST).

At the International Congress of History of Science in 1985, the International Commission on the History of Mathematics (established by the DHST in 1971) voted to approach the IMU regarding re-establishing itself as an inter-union commission between the IHPST/DHST and the IMU. The Joint International Commission on the History of Mathematics (ICHM) was established in 1987 following a ballot of members of the IMU, and began its work at the beginning of 1988.

The ICHM is charged with the following missions:
· to encourage the study of the history of mathematics
· to promote a high level of historically and mathematically sophisticated scholarship in the field
· to build a broad community in all regions, of people interested in the history of mathematics.


1. Executive Committee composition.

The ICHM Executive Committee (EC) consists of
(a) four officers and seven members elected by the ICHM/DHST:

· Chair
· Vice Chair
· Secretary
· Treasurer
· seven Members-at-Large;
(b) two Members-at-Large elected by the IMU General Assembly;
(c) The Immediate Past Chair of ICHM, and the Editor of Historia Mathematica are Ex-officio Members of the ICHM Executive Committee, without voting rights.


2. Executive Committee terms.

(a) The ICHM-elected officers and members-at-large shall serve a four-year term starting on the first day of the calendar year following that in which the election has taken place. Each officer and member can be elected for at most two consecutive terms. With the permission of the IMU and IUPHST/DHST, a less stringent term limit may be determined for the Treasurer or for a member who is responsible for the ICHM website and its hosting.

(b) The IMU-elected members-at-large shall serve a four-year term starting on the first day of the calendar year following that in which the election has taken place. The members-at-large can be elected for at most two consecutive terms.

(c) In the event of death, incapacity, or resignation of the members in Clauses 1(a) or 1(c), the

ICHM Executive Committee shall appoint a successor for the unexpired term. In the event of death, incapacity, or resignation of one of the members in Clause 1(b), the IMU Executive Committee shall appoint a successor for the unexpired term.


3. Executive Committee election.

The composition of the ICHM EC should reflect good regional and gender balance consistent with its goals.

(a) For the election of the members listed in Clause 1(a) the ICHM EC shall appoint an ICHM Nominating Committee, which shall form a slate with at least one name for each of the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, and at least nine names for the seven positions for members-at-large. Elections shall take place through an electronic ballot, with the participation of the ICHM members, following the IUHPST/DHST norms for such a ballot. The results of such an election shall be reported to the IMU and the IUHPST/DHST Council (along with the list of candidates and votes polled), and validated at the following IUHPST/DHST General Assembly.

(b) For the election of the two Members-at-Large listed in Clause 1(b) the IMU Nominating Committee shall form a slate with at least four names for the two positions. These should be established mathematicians with a strong interest in the history of mathematics and with ongoing and active contact with the mathematics community. Elections for the two Members-at-Large in Clause 1(b) shall take place at a meeting of the IMU General Assembly.


4. Communication and Promotion of History of Mathematics.

(a) The ICHM shall maintain a web site as specified in Clause 5 of the Guidelines for Joint Commissions of the IMU.

(b) The ICHM shall communicate information from the ICHM to historians of mathematics internationally via its web site and other means, such as the ICHM International E-Mail List of Historians of Mathematics.

(c) The ICHM shall promote scholarly achievement in the History of Mathematics, through awards of the Kenneth O’May Prizes, and in other ways it sees fit.

(d) The ICHM shall endeavour to build an internationally diverse community of those with an interest in the history of mathematics, by reaching out via networking and other means.


5. Participation in the International Congress of History of Science and Technology (ICHST) and International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM).

Participation of ICHM in the ICHST and ICM is encouraged as specified in Clause 6 of the Guidelines for Joint Commissions of the IMU and in the Guidelines for Commissions and Sections of IUHPST/DHST.


6. Budget of ICHM.

The funding of ICHM is through an annual grant provided by IUHPST/DHST. On occasion, the ICHM receives subventions from other sources.


7. Reporting requirements.

The ICHM Chair reports to the IMU Secretary and the IUHPST/DHST Secretary General as specified in Clauses 3 (Activity report) and 4 (Financial report) of the Guidelines for Joint Commissions of the International Mathematical Union and to the IUHPST/DHST Secretary General and Treasurer as specified in Clauses 4 and 5 (Financial and Activity Reports) of the Guidelines for the Commissions and Sections of the IUHPST/DHST.