HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY
THE HISTORY OF
THE EUROPEAN MATHEMATICAL
SOCIETY : 1990-98
David A R Wallace
Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
and Intellectual Property Rights reserved to David A R Wallace).
This brief history of the European Mathematical
Society covers a period of slightly more than eight years, from the founding
of the Society in 1990 to the end of 1998. The history was commissioned by the
Society in order that an account could be composed before memories had faded,
leaving only written records. Inevitably the many and changing participants
in the activities to be described will have different views of these activities
and their significance. The author has aimed to write an objective account -
'history' is really too grandiose a title - from the perspective of one who
was present at, and involved in, all of the Council and Executive Committee
meetings of the Society, with the exception of one meeting in Cracow. As is
well known, proximity to events does not necessarily ensure freedom from prejudice
in reporting - and so others must judge the degree of objectivity here achieved;
notwithstanding the aim of impartiality, the author has allowed himself the
liberty of an occasional subjective comment where it seemed to be particularly
The genesis of the European Mathematical
Society (EMS) lies in efforts (1976) by the European Science Foundation (ESF)
to find ways of improving European co-operation in mathematics, possibly through
the setting up of a federation of European mathematical societies. These efforts
resulted, at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM78), in the creation
of a European Mathematical Council. This Council began to function but political
difficulties at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Warsaw (1983,
postponed from 1982) inhibited the development; nevertheless, the Council, while
initially drawn mainly from the West did evolve into a forum for delegates from
both Eastern and Western Europe. At Prague (1986) the first steps were taken
to draw up a constitution for a society along the lines of the European Physical
Society. The draft Constitution was debated in Oberwolfach (1988) and subsequently,
no doubt, by the various participating societies until its presentation to the
assembly of delegates representing 28 mathematical societies at Madralin. (* Note: Strict Polish spelling requires a special
font for the first 'a').
Madralin 27-28 October
Madralin, which is situated in a wooded
area some 20 kilometres from Warsaw, is the location of an attractive country
residence of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The delegates assembled in this
residence with a strong sense of purpose and with the confident expectation
of the eventual founding of the EMS.
The first part of the meeting took place
under the auspices of the European Mathematical Council chaired by Sir Michael
Atiyah. Strongly held differences of opinion as to how a European Mathematical
Society should be organised emerged very quickly with an attempt by the French
delegation to change the order of the Agenda so that the aims and activities
could be discussed before any discussion of the Statutes of the draft Constitution.
After an exchange of views, it was agreed that the order of the Agenda could
be retained, as a discussion of the aims could lead naturally into a discussion
of the draft Statutes. After a fairly lengthy debate on the aims and structure
of the projected Society, the assembly proceeded to debate the draft Statutes,
which were actually the outcome of negotiations conducted by A. Lahtinen in
Finland, following the meeting in Oberwolfach (1988). The assembly was perturbed
by a very forthright statement from the President of the French Mathematical
Society (SMF), J.-P. Bourguignon, to the effect that the SMF could not accept
Statutes which in the opinion of the SMF implied a federation of societies and
would only countenance a society composed of individual members. The possibility
of a European Mathematical Society without French participation was unthinkable.
Fortunately, the viewpoint of the SMF was regarded sympathetically and it was
suggested that, for the greater good, the draft Statutes could be broadly accepted
but that they should be reconsidered after a European Mathematical Society was
up and running. It was agreed that the Statutes would be fundamentally reconsidered
when the individual membership had reached 4000 (later amended to 3000). Several
changes were made to the draft Statutes and By-laws. The requirement that the
President had to be elected from among the members of the Council was changed
from being part of a Statute to part of a By-law; even in this less stringent
form, the requirement was to prove troublesome. The debate on the draft Statutes
concluded amicably and with some relief on the part of the delegates.
Of the 28 mathematical societies represented
at Madralin, 27 wished to join the European Mathematical Society (EMS) as full
members. The remaining society was the Mathematical Society of the former German
Democratic Republic (DDR) which, owing to political changes, was about to terminate
its independent existence.
Sunday (28 October, 1990) was an exhilarating
day, sunny of sky, and crisp of temperature. The omens were therefore propititious
when the European Mathematical Council agreed unanimously to establish the EMS,
constitutionally under Finnish Law with its legal seat at Helsinki. The gestation
period having been protracted, the delegates were pleased to toast the birth
of the EMS with liquid hospitality from their Polish hosts. In honour of the
occasion, B. Bojarski, on behalf of the Polish Academy of Sciences, along with
A. Pelczar, President of the Polish Mathematical Society (PMS), presented a
medal, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the PMS, to the Chairman, Sir Michael
Atiyah, for passing on to the incoming President of the nascent EMS.
The European Mathematical Council having
been formally dissolved, the delegates reassembled after a cheerful lunch and
reconstituted themselves as the Council of the newly-born EMS. The first act
was to elect a President and Executive Committee (EC) in accordance with the
Statutes as finally agreed. A small committee had been working over the lunch
period to produce a balanced list of nominations. The Council quickly accepted
the list and provision was made to stagger the initial lengths of period of
office to ensure a sensible turnover of the membership of the EC. The first
President, Fritz Hirzebruch, who was himself a very popular and inspired choice
for the post of President, then took the chair of the Council and expressed
its profound thanks to Sir Michael Atiyah for his tireless work for the European
Mathematical Council. The other positions on the EC were agreed, namely:
Vice-Presidents: Alessandro Figà-Talamanca,
Secretary: Chris Lance
Treasurer: Aatos Lahtinen
Committee MembersEva Bayer, Alois Kufner,
László Márki, Antonio
Various tasks faced the Council, tasks
which were to continue to present problems and opportunities over the succeeding
years. A discussion paper on publications was debated. While there was general
agreement on the need for a newsletter, differences of opinion were evident
as to whether the EMS should produce a journal; these differences were to dominate
many subsequent discussions. A Publications Committee, under B. Teissier and
Stewart Robertson, was set up. Education was felt to be a 'good thing' but just
what should be undertaken to make an effective contribution to education was
much less clear. T. Nemetz, who had been active in mathematical education, was
asked to chair a Committee on Mathematics Education.
Among the aims of the EMS is the promotion
of research in applied mathematics, and the delegates, who were probably mainly
pure mathematicians, were concerned that this aim should be fully realised.
The need to liaise with other bodies, such as the European Consortium for Mathematics
in Industry (ECMI), which had been very successful, was evident. The Council
set up a Committee on Applied Mathematics under the chairmanship of J. Hunt.
By its very nature, the EMS had a responsibility
to promote relations with the then European Community and also a responsibility
to improve relations between Eastern and Western Europe. Both responsibilities
were later to be tackled by the EC with significant results.
A separate body, the European Mathematical
Trust (EMT), had set up a so-called EUROMATH project which was intended to produce
software which would provide various services including an advanced mathematical
document editor and access to a database. The EMS clearly had an interest in
such an ambitious project and, accordingly, Antonio St. Aubyn was appointed
to liaise with the EMT; the inherent difficulties of this project were to emerge
The Council then turned its attention
to the possibility of a Congress which would take place in Paris during the
Summer of 1992. The driving force behind the concept of the Congress, M. Karoubi,
had been invited to attend at Madralin in order to present specific proposals.
It was envisaged that the Congress should foster European co-operation in mathematics.
Apart from survey lectures and prizes for young mathematicians, there was to
be a programme of 'tables rondes' which would consist of discussions on themes
of European interest. The proposals led to a free-ranging discussion on the
choice of dates, the funding of the Congress, likely accommodation and the scale
of the Congress itself. The delegates naturally presumed that M. Karoubi was
speaking on behalf of the French mathematical community and were somewhat alarmed
by a further intervention from J.-P. Bourguignon to the effect that the concept
of the Congress did not have the support of the SMF. In spite of the obvious
difficulties that the position taken by the SMF would create and the shortness
of the timescale in which to plan a Congress, the delegates were strongly influenced
by the evident amount of preliminary work which had been done and by the significant
fact that it was intended to be a European Congress. These difficulties would later be resolved but not without
some heartache in the French mathematical establishment.
Other matters at Madralin were relatively
routine. The delegates left Madralin justifiably pleased with what had been
The foundation of the EMS was well reported
in the European press. The reporting sometimes reflected local interests but
overall there was a good understanding of what the EMS wished to achieve. The
following comments from the reports are fairly typical:
Le Figaro, 28 November,
but de cette société européenne est d'intensifier les échanges
entre les étudiants en mathématiques au sein de l'Europe",
Zeitung, 28 November, 1990, "Die Gesellschaft wird künftig auch die Arbeiten der
Forschungsinstitute in Europa koordinieren, darunter des internationalen Euler-Instituts
in Leningrad und des Banach-Zentrums in Warschau".
Il Giornale, 23 November,
1990, "Tra gli obiettivi dell' associazione
quello di costituire uno spirito comune <<in senso europeo>>, promuovere
la ricerca e la formazione nella matematica pura e applicata e di valorizzarla
nel mondo moderno".
Times Higher Education
Supplement, 9 November, 1990, "The new European
Mathematical Society aims to promote mathematicians' involvement in research
projects funded by the Community, and to allow mathematicians in eastern Europe
to get help from colleagues in richer countries".
1990 to Pre-Council Paris 1992
The first and second meetings of the newly-elected
Executive Committee (EC) were held at the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut,
Oberwolfach, and later the EC held its meeting in Prague, thereby sampling the
charms of both Western and Eastern Europe. Over the next four years, the EC
was to benefit greatly from the informed and wise counsel of its President,
Fritz Hirzebruch, ably assisted by the Secretary, Chris Lance, who expertly
arranged business, and by the thoughtful, imperturbable, Treasurer Aatos Lahtinen,
who kept an eagle eye on the financial affairs. A very important administrative
arrangement was made with the University of Helsinki by which an office was
set up and staffed on a part-time basis by Ms. Tuulikki Mäkeläinen.
This arrangement was to prove very beneficial to the EMS - for Tuulikki Mäkeläinen
was to give, unstintingly, superb administrative support over the years.
At the first meeting in Oberwolfach, the
members of the EC came together with an eager sense of anticipation and perhaps
with some awe in regard to the tasks with which they were faced. Clearly the
wishes of the Council had to be turned into reality but the EC was faced with
the problem of effective implementation of these, and other, wishes. The policy
adopted, then and later, was to create sub-Committees whose membership would
not solely be drawn from the EC but would draw upon appropriate expertise wherever
it might exist. As was to be found, committees are easily set up; what is harder
is to ensure they are effective. Certain issues were immediately obvious - budgets,
publications, Paris Congress, etc. The budget of the Society then, and later,
was never a problem. Apart, occasionally, from very minor changes, the budgets
of Aatos Lahtinen were always to be accepted - a testament to careful financial
Two requests had been received, and more
were to arrive over the years, for sponsorship of summer schools. It was never
possible to offer financial help but evidently the organisers of some summer
schools wished to have, at the least, the moral support of the EMS. A Committee
on Summer Schools (Chair, László Márki) was at first set
up to consider requests for EMS sponsorship for meetings which would emphasise
European integration and offer support for younger research workers; later,
the scope of the Committee would enlarge and it would actively promote summer
Relations with the European Community
were clearly important and a European Community Unity Liaison Committee (Chair,
Alessandro Figà-Talamanca) was set up. It was essential for the authorities
in Brussels to recognise the needs of mathematicians, for example, the Committee
for the European Development of Science and Technology (CODEST), although playing
an important role in the European Community's Science programme, did not at
first have a mathematics panel. Subsequently, the EC was able to suggest names
for the Mathematics and Computer Science panel of CODEST. Much successful work
was put into establishing relations with Brussels. At the first meeting with
the European Community (Brussels, 15 October, 1991), Alessandro Figà-Talamanca
and Fritz Hirzebruch had a constructive meeting with F.M. Pandolfi who was then
the Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner in charge of
research; the discussion focused on the ways of stemming the brain drain of
mathematicians from Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, and of means for
increasing mobility within the European Community.
The Council at Madralin had set up a Committee
on the Applications of Mathematics. This Committee was to be a cause of concern
since the intentions of the Council did not appear to be being carried out.
The EC more than once revised the composition of this Committee.
Female mathematicians were conspicuous
by their absence at the Madralin council but the EMS has since then always tried
to encourage the advancement of women. Appropriately a Committee on Women and
Mathematics (Chair, Eva Bayer) was formed. Among the objectives of this Committee
was the collection of information on the number and proportion of women mathematicians
at different professional levels.
Discussions on the publications policy
of the EMS proved to be the most contentious. There had been divided views at
Madralin and the divisions were to occur again whenever matters of publications
were debated. A Publications Committee was set up under Stewart Robertson, the
initial aim being to produce a newsletter. A lengthy discussion ensued as regards
the newsletter, its potential editors and its general format. In the upshot,
Newsletter No. 1 appeared, dated 1st September, 1991, with two editors, David
Singerman (Southampton) and Ivan Netuka (Prague); the printing was done in Southampton.
The first issue contained a message from Fritz Hirzebruch and an article by
Chris Lance on the aims of the Society; the Paris Congress was also announced.
The Committee on Education struggled to
find a role. Sadly, both T. Nemetz and his successor W. Dörfler had to
relinquish the chair for health reasons.
The schedule of meetings of the EC, which
became established, entailed two, and sometimes three, meetings per year. Since
matters could not always wait during the period of six months intervening between
most meetings, a General Purposes Committee (GPC), consisting of the President,
Secretary and Treasurer, was formed. The GPC had a remit to act upon matters
of urgency, subject of course to the authority of the EC; in addition, the GPC
was given the responsibility for the preparation of business for the EC. The
GPC was to play a useful facilitating role in the workings of the EC.
A major concern of the EC was the Paris
Congress for which announcements had been made and for which material was being
printed. While not strictly part of the history of the EMS it is nevertheless
necessary to digress in order to explain the concern and to outline events in
The 'Haut Comité du Congrès'
met (12 April, 1991) and learned that a majority of the Council of the SMF was
not in favour of the Congress and that cancellation of the Congress might be
inevitable. Apart from financial uncertainty, there were conflicting views over
the actual location of the Congress and over whether an upper limit should be
imposed on the number of registrations. The EC was alarmed at this state of
affairs and when the Haut Comité met again (13 May, 1991), Fritz Hirzebruch
and Aatos Lahtinen were present. Fritz Hirzebruch stated that the EMS had not
realised that the ''Comité d'Organisation', for which M. Karoubi was
the spokesman, did not have the support of the French mathematical community
and that, in any case, he was in favour of a Congress located at the Sorbonne.
Decisions were urgently needed. It was decided (24 May, 1991) that the Congress
would take place, 6-10 July, 1992, on the site of the Panthéon-Sorbonne
with a limitation of 1300 on the number of participants. While acknowledging
the considerable work accomplished by M. Karoubi, it was decided to form a new
organising committee. Unfortunately, he did not accept the limitation in numbers
and wrote to various national societies to seek support for his point of view.
Needless to say, his point of view had support. The EC also regretted the proposed
limitation in numbers but accepted the limitation as inevitable.
After all the above-mentioned difficulties,
it is a pleasure to record that the European Congress of Mathematicians, held
at the Sorbonne and Panthéon-Sorbonne universities, was a resounding
success. The responsibility for this happy outcome lay with those French mathematicians
who had only a brief time to organise the Congress. It should be recorded that
the Haut Comité, with some changes of personality, became the Steering
Committee, both chaired by H. Cartan. The Organising Committee was chaired by
F. Mignot, with F. Murat as Treasurer, and the Scientific Committee was chaired
by H. Föllmer. M. Karoubi, for his stupendous efforts to promote the Congress,
was recognised as 'Founder of the Congress' and chaired the Prize Committee.
The City of Paris generously donated ten prizes for award to outstanding European
mathematicians under the age of 32. The prize ceremony in the Hotel de Ville
was graciously presided over by Jacques Chirac, then mayor of Paris and latterly
President of France; a personal medal was also fittingly presented to Fritz
Paris 4-5 July 1992
One of the first acts of this Council
was the admission of various Mathematical Societies to corporate membership.
The EC had no authority to admit societies as corporate members but had, on
grounds of practicality, instituted provisional membership of societies subject
to ratification by the Council. One particular request, that of the Israel Mathematical
Union, had caused some uncertainty because of Article 3.2 of the Statutes which
apparently restricted membership to societies located 'within Europe'. However,
partly on the analogy of the 'Eurovision Song Contest', a liberal interpretation
of the Statutes prevailed, and the Israel Mathematical Union was easily admitted
to membership - as indeed were the other applicants for membership.
The Council then came to the business
of organising elections to the EC for the period 1993-96. Vacancies existed
for a Vice-President, and for four other members of the Committee. Nominations
had been sought, with a deadline of 30 June, 1992, but only five nominations
had been received. Contrary to the recommendation of the EC, but legitimately
in terms of the Statutes, the Council agreed that additional nominations could
be proposed. However, there was then, and indeed there will always be, an inevitable
difficulty in elections to the EC. It is surely desirable to secure a balanced
mix of nationalities and subject interests among the ten members of the EC,
but it is not obvious how this can be achieved, not least because it is unlikely
that all nominees are known to all the delegates. For these reasons the first
stage in the election process was the selection of a so-called Nominations Committee,
disjoint from the EC, which, overnight, would make a suggested choice of nominees
for election while leaving the actual election to be decided by the Council.
The Nominations Committee made unanimous recommendations in respect of which
László Márki would become Vice-President, and four nominees
would join the EC. The first recommendation was quickly accepted but the second
recommendation led into a confused discussion on the means by which votes on
the, by then, nine nominees could be counted, Rule 16 of the then By-laws not
being particularly well devised for such an election. After a secret ballot
the four nominees who had been recommended by the Nominations Committee, and
who also achieved the highest votes, were elected; they were Eva Bayer, Isabel
Labouriau, Andrzej Pelczar, and V.A. Solonnikov. This episode showed up the
pitfalls in filling positions on the EC; on this occasion a new President did
not have to be elected but as subsequent events would show his or her election
would present, foreseeably, difficulties. It was also agreed that David Wallace
should be Acting Secretary for the period September 1992 - September 1993 to
replace the Secretary, Chris Lance, who would be on sabbatical leave.
Although the feeling surfaced that the
EC should improve its lines of communication, there was general approval for
the work of the EC and of its various Committees; in particular, there was gratification
that the EMS had been able to recomend names for the Mathematics and Computer
Science panel of CODEST.
In regard to education, the delegates
seemed to wish to concentrate exclusively on university rather than school education.
Some fears were voiced that the European Community might have been preparing
proposals for the accreditation of Chartered Mathematicians and that discussions
had taken place within the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Rectors of European
Universities in regard to the harmonisation of curricula. The interest of the
EMS was self-evident.
The Council spent time discussing the
location of the next Congress. There were two proposals, one from the Catalan
Mathematical Society for a Congress in or near Barcelona and one from the János
Bolyai Mathematical Society for a Congress in Budapest or elsewhere in Hungary.
The lengthy discussion focused on funding, facilities and, in the light of the
Paris experience, on the local enthusiasm for a Congress. Sentiment was in favour
of the Hungarian proposal on the grounds that the second Congress ought, in
equity, to be in Eastern Europe. The Council voted by 31 votes to 14, with 6
abstentions, in favour of the Hungarian proposal, the opinion being expressed
that the location should be in Budapest. The Council instructed the EC to send
a group of three, one of whom had been a member of the Organising Committee
for the Paris Congress, to Hungary to investigate possible locations and to
make recommendations to the EC.
1992 to Pre-Council Zürich 1994
The meetings of the EC for the two years
up to the Council meeting at Zürich following the International Congress
of Mathematicians were to be dominated by certain themes. The examination of
these themes gives an indication of the problems and successes of the EC during
this particular period.
Negotiations were conducted with the ESF
with the aim of establishing ESF conferences in mathematics which previously
had not appeared among the scientific areas supported by the ESF. Apart from
the obvious desire to have mathematics placed on a similar footing to the sciences,
there was the convenient advantage that the ESF carried out the administrative
and residential arrangements attendant on a conference of around 100 people.
It was decided that there would be two series of conferences, covering the two
areas of pure and applied mathematics, and taking place biennially. Pierre-Louis
Lyons succeeded with a proposal to the ESF for a series of conferences in the
"Mathematical Methods in Industrial Problems" of which the first took
place in September, 1994, on "Multi-scale Analysis in Image Processing".
L. Babai, who had been asked to formulate proposals, suggested that in pure
mathematics there should be two series, one on "Algebra and Discrete Mathematics"
and one on "Mathematical Analysis." The tentative schedule proposed
by L. Babai was : 1995 Group Theory; 1997 Mathematical Logic; 1999 Combinatorics;
2001 Commutative Algebra; 2003 Algebraic Geometry. The second series was to
be co-ordinated by B. Ziemian who had suggested: 1995 Local singularities of
solutions to nonlinear and singular PDEs; 1997 Equations of geometric origin
emphasising global aspects and connections with algebraic geometry; 1999 Ordinary
differential equations focusing on recent advances by Yu S. Ilyashenko, B. Malgrange,
J. Ecalle. Under the rules of the ESF the Chairman of a Euroconference arranged
the conference in a country, not his or her own, to which the Vice-Chairman
of the conference belonged. The Vice-Chairman then acted as the Chairman for
the next conference in the series. L. Babai wished to nominate as a Vice-Chairman
a person from outside the European Union with the consequence that a Euroconference
would not have been in the European Union. The ESF would not accept this proposal
and, in consequence, there was some acrimony, with L. Babai complaining strongly
about the alleged discriminatory practices of the ESF. Although Babai's views
received some support in the EC, an overriding consideration was that in order
to have Euroconferences in mathematics, the rules of the ESF, however irksome,
had to be followed if mathematics was to receive any support for Euroconferences.
(Other subjects did after all seem to be able to comply with the rules). Notwithstanding,
the EC endeavoured to gain a dispensation from the strict application of the
rules. Eva Bayer was to serve as Liaison Officer with the ESF and joined the
general Steering Committee of the ESF.
European Community matters occupied much
of the attention of the EC. Information was required on the composition of the
CODEST panel as it was the advisory board for the European Community's Human
Capital and Mobility (HCM) programme whose panel on Mathematics embraced both
mathematics and computer science. The President and Alessandro Figà-Talamanca
were able to meet the new Commissioner for Science and Education, Antonio Roberti,
in Brussels on 25 February, 1993, and to discuss the HCM and other programmes.
It was important for the EMS to have its own representative in Brussels and,
accordingly, Luc Lemaire was appointed representative with the title of European
Mathematical Society Liaison Officer with the European Community.
Publishing generally was a source of much
discussion. On the matter of increasing the size of the Newsletter, necessitated
by pressure on publishing space, the voting was 3 for the status quo, 3 for
an increased size, and 4 abstentions. Rather more easily the Newsletter took
over the functions previously discharged by the Oberwolfach Newsletter, which
ceased to appear. But, on the bigger question of 'to publish or not to publish'
a journal, the discussions were, at times, quite energetic. Some opinion was
against the involvement of a commercial publisher but, on the other hand, the
inescapable reality was that publishing demanded financial capital and expertise
in marketing. Fritz Hirzebruch, with Stewart Robertson and David Wallace, met
representatives of Springer-Verlag on 18 March, 1994, and the two last were
subsequently authorised to proceed to negotiate a contract with this publisher.
Not all of the EC wished to proceed to a contract; Alessandro Figà-Talamanca
in particular was vehemently opposed to the proposal for the publication of
During the period, various organisations
wrote to ask for support. One of these was the Institute of Pure and Applied
Mathematics (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro. The EC decided that it ought to be quite
selective in giving support, however IMPA was long established and it was felt
that a letter of support could justifiably be sent without creating a precedent
for other appeals for help. A more direct concern was the difficulty being experienced
by the Banach Center in Warsaw whose building was under threat of being taken
over by its previous private owners. The EC did not wish to be drawn into a
political argument over ownership of a building but was very concerned that
the institution of the Banach Center, which occupied a unique place in Eastern
Europe and a significant place in Europe, should be strongly supported. Fortunately,
the ownership then seemed to be resolved and the EC was pleased that an International
Scientific Council for the Stefan Banach Mathematical Center was created, to
which the EMS had the right to nominate three representatives. A very poignant
letter came from the Bosnian Mathematical Society in Sarajevo. While there was
every desire to respond helpfully, communication with a war-torn zone proved
to be a problem. On a more cheerful note, the EC was pleased to be able to offer
congratulations to the Institute at Oberwolfach on the Institute's attaining
its 50th anniversary.
The position of the Zentralblatt für
Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete (ZM) occasioned meetings and flurries of correspondence
(neither necessarily involving the EMS). A reduction of 15% in the cost of the
ZM which Springer-Verlag, as the publishers, had made to the membership of the
Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV) was extended to the membership of other
societies. Part of the correspondence concerned relations between the ZM, Mathematical
Reviews (MR) and Referativnyi Zhurnal Matematika (RZM) and of the extent to
which there could be co-operation. (In 1998, owing to economic difficulties,
RZM would merge with ZM). While a common database could be developed, the ZM
and MR seemed likely to maintain their independence.
After the excitement arising before the
Paris Congress, the EC wished to ensure that no problems would ensue with the
1996 Congress which the János Bolyai Society had decided would be in
Budapest. The letter communicating this decision also expressed some scepticism
in regard to the Round Tables and sought for a loan to facilitate the initial
stages of the organisation of the Congress. The scepticism could be dispelled
but in order to have any success with an application to Brussels for a loan
a budget was needed for the Congress. The preliminary budget, when it first
appeared, was criticised on the grounds that certain figures seemed to be low.
There was also a need to publish the proceedings of the Congress. In due course,
160,000 ecu was applied for; of this sum, 60,000 ecu was for immediate organisational
expenses and 100,000 for fellowships to support East European mathematicians.
The first suggestion was made to inaugurate
EMS Lectureships, and agreement in principle was reached. Worries over EUROMATH
began to emerge, for example, the Italian Mathematical Union did not wish to
have any relationship with EUROMATH.
The EC debated the question of replacements
for the Officers and other members of the EC who were due to retire in 1994.
There was general agreement that the President should be an outstanding mathematician
who had 'political' experience. The EC was well aware that the President had
first of all to be a member of the Council and that the election to the Presidency
was a matter for the Council. Discreet soundings were made and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
was the choice for President, a choice reflecting the French contribution to
the EMS and to the first Congress. Somewhat unexpectedly, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
wished to have the choice of the incoming Secretary; the EC acceded to this
wish and Peter W Michor was duly the EC's choice for Secretary. For Vice-President,
the EC wished to propose David Wallace, and was grateful that Aatos Lahtinen
was prepared to serve a second term as Treasurer. For the remaining vacancy
on the Council, the EC proposed three names.
12-13 August 1994
Some changes to the By-laws were made.
Rule 16 of the By-laws was changed to permit a simpler and more transparent
method of elections to the EC. Rule 29 was changed to allow the EC to waive
or to reduce the fees of a corporate member; this measure was mainly for the
benefit of some financially hard-pressed Eastern European members.
The elections to the EC proceeded smoothly.
Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Peter Michor and Aatos Lahtinen, President, Secretary
and Treasurer respectively, were elected unopposed. There were two candidates
for Vice-President but David Wallace was elected by a majority of 31 to 21.
There were eventually five candidates for the single vacancy for an ordinary
member of the EC, Alberto Conte receiving the greatest number of votes. Following
his own election, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon identified to the Council three major
areas in which he hoped for achievement during his Presidency. Under 'Restructuring
of the ZM' he wished that, as the long-term academic and financial health of
the ZM was then being secured, the EMS might take scientific responsibility
for the ZM. By placing 'Europe on equal terms with other continents' he believed
Europe should encourage the provision of post-doctoral fellowships and promote
summer schools and instructional institutes. Thirdly, he saw a need to redress
the 'balance between pure and applied mathematics'. Furthermore, he wished the
Society to take a lead in the use of new communications technology which might
take the form of Europe-wide meetings held simultaneously in different cities;
these meetings would incorporate presentations of fundamental mathematics and
genuine applications of mathematics (e.g. in finance) together with discussions
in the responsibilities of any scientists involved. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
was to succeed remarkably well in achieving these aims.
The accounts and projected budgets were
accepted quite happily. It was noted that the Spanish Mathematical Society had
never paid any subscription. Some discussion took place on the means by which
the individual membership could be increased.
The establishment of good contacts with
the European Union was important. The chairman of the EU Liaison Committee,
Alessandro Figà-Talamanca, emphasised to the Council the valuable work
of the Society's EU Liaison Officer, Luc Lemaire, in circulating news to members
and maintaining contacts with the bureaucracy (mainly DG XII, Director F. Fasella)
and the politicians (especially Commissioner A. Ruberti). At a meeting in Rome,
Alessandro Figà-Talamanca and A. Ruberti had discussed the Assembly of
Scientists which was to replace CODEST, the financing of mathematics, and the
need to avoid discrimination between East and West Europe.
The question of whether or not to publish
a journal was as vexed an issue in the Council as it had been on the EC. A questionnaire
on whether or not to publish a journal had been circulated in the Newsletter
without much response. The delegates to the Council were pleased to have a further
chance to complete the questionnaire. As might have been anticipated, the result
was inconclusive but strong views, for and against, emerged. Similar views emerged
in the debate in which it was clear that the delegates wished to differentiate
between the academic service provided by a journal and the financial return
which the Society might eventually expect to make. There was support for the
production of an electronic journal although, as was observed, this was not
itself free of costs. The outcome of the lengthy debate was possibly predictable
in that the EC was instructed to proceed with negotiations for a journal, bearing
in mind the substance of the debate.
An aim of the EMS had been to channel
support to East European mathematicians. It was therefore surprising when Jean-Marc
Deshouillers, Chairman of the Committee on Support of East European Mathematicians
announced that there had been a disappointingly low application rate to his
Committee for funds.
Finally, the President-Elect, Jean-Pierre
Bourguignon, thanked Fritz Hirzebruch for all the work he had done for the EMS.
1994 to Pre-Council Budapest 1996
The EC met somewhat informally in Zürich
over a dinner table at which minutes were taken but the main interest was to
share in the pleasure of one of its members, Pierre-Louis Lions, who had just
been awarded a Fields Medal at the ICM94.
The first full EC meeting after the Zürich
meeting was held in Cortona at the Palazzone Passerini. This property of the
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa had a tower from which the scenic beauty of
the Tuscan landscape could be delightfully enjoyed. Alas, as ever, the EC had
work to do!
Various requests for EMS support had been
received but the EC was in an uncomfortable dilemma. If it supported every request
then the significance of EMS support would be devalued; on the other hand, the
EC did not wish to discourage what might be worthwhile ventures. A cautious
approach to granting support was deemed to be wise. It was agreed, following
an encouraging letter from Commissioner Roberti of the EU, that an application
should be made for funding under an ERASMUS programme for an initiative to compare
and to evaluate curricula in mathematics. The EC endeavoured to take proper
account of the variety of views expressed at the Council meeting in Zürich.
Evidently a need was felt for better communications between the EC and the individual
members of the EMS; importantly, candidates for positions on the EC should be
required to supply biographical information. That there was less than enthusiastic
support for an EMS journal was also noted. There was continuing concern in regard
to the non-payment of fees by certain corporate members. Correspondence was
erratic with many of these societies, some of which could have asked for a waiving
of fees but had failed to do so.
A long discussion took place concerning
the preparation of a Letter of Intent to be sent to Springer-Verlag with the
intention of founding a new mathematical journal (finalised as Letter of Intent
on 12 December, 1994). This journal was to be called the Journal of the European
Mathematical Society (JEMS) which was an appropriate title but which was also
chosen because JEMS, in English, is pronounced as 'gems' in the expectation
that the new journal would contain many rich nuggets of mathematics. The EC
agreed after 6 votes to 2, with 1 abstention, to prepare such a letter which,
after minor alterations, was duly sent. The attention of the EC was drawn by
Peter Michor, the incoming Secretary, to the need to consider the impact of
electronic means of transmitting mathematical results on conventional methods
of publication. Clearly electronic means would be increasingly important but
there was uncertainty, and perhaps even anxiety, amongst publishers as to the
ultimate consequence of the impact. The EC took steps to establish a Committee
on Electronic Publishing in order that expert advice might be available on the
opportunities for, and difficulties of, electronic publishing.
The plans for ECM96 in Budapast had moved
ahead and there was relief that the registration fees were expected to be sufficient
to fund the Congress even if no other funds were available. EUROMATH was a continuing
source of concern and the EC intended to communicate formally its misgivings
to the EMT. The role of EMT Liaison Officer was to continue pending any further
The EC meeting, held in Cracow, was highly
significant as, for the first time, the Presidentship and the Secretaryship
had, as new incumbents, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and Peter Michor respectively.
Gallic enthusiasm, particularly for matters European, and Viennese flair, particularly
for matters electronic, were to replace the more sober characteristics of their
predecessors. The running of the EC over the next four years was to reflect
the different styles of the new officers of the Society; the involvement of
Tuulikki Mäkeläinen was to increase in importance. Much more reliance
was, sensibly, to be placed on e-mail in order to keep the members of the EC
better and more quickly informed of any developments. The meeting began by agreeing
to appoint three EMS representatives to the Board of the Tbilisi International
Centre in Georgia.
The EMS was a new society and owing to
its form as a pan-European society its presence and its functions were not always
very evident, and so, as it would be expressed, the EMS lacked visibility. While
the impending initiative of JEMS would become an obvious manifestation of the
activities of the EMS there was a need to increase the visibility of the EMS.
The EC had given, and was to give, much thought to this awkward aspect of the
EMS. Further discussions had taken place with the EMT, which was an associate
member of the Society; in view of this associateship the post of Liaison Officer
On a much more positive note the electronic
server of the Society was to be located at FachInformationsZentrum (FIZ) Karlsruhe.
After earlier consultations, FIZ-Karlsruhe, together with Springer-Verlag and
the Heidelberg Academy, had taken over the ZM as a joint venture. The EMS was
later to be involved in this venture. It was also reported that discussions
involving the ZM and the MR had taken place but without tangible results.
The multi-site conferences, later to be
named the "Diderot Mathematical Forums" were then first considered
and arrangements for summer schools were made, For the two projects, it was
hoped that support would be obtained from the EU and ESF respectively. Worthwhile
in themselves, these projects would, in due course, enhance the visibility of
Arrangements for ECM96 in Budapest were
progressing. It was agreed that there should be 10 prizes for young European
mathematicians, resident in Europe, who would normally be at most 32 years of
age at the time of the Congress. The finance for these prizes was to come from
local sources. Bids had also been submitted for the holding of 3ECM in the year
2000, the bidders being from Barcelona, Brighton, Copenhagen and Turin. As a
first stage in resolving the bids, a committee of inspection was set up to investigate
the facilities etc. at each of the potential locations.
The EC received a report listing various
projects of World Mathematical Year 2000 (WMY2000). This had arisen from a declaration,
in the name of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), issued on 6 May 1992
in Rio de Janeiro, during the 40th anniversay of IMPA, by J.-L. Lions, then
President of the IMU. The declaration had set out three aims which fitted well
with the EMS's own aspirations, namely, (1) the great challenges of the 21st
century, (2) mathematics, a key for development, and (3) the image of mathematics.
Sponsorship of the declaration had come from UNESCO, the Third World Academy
of Sciences, the French Ministry of Research and Space, the Brazilian Academy
of Sciences, and the Swiss Federal Council, anticipating ICM94. (It later transpired
that the sponsorship of UNESCO had to be reaffirmed). The EC considered what
contribution the EMS could make to WMY2000.
The EC meeting in Hamburg had a very full
programme of items. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon had been very active in contacts
with outside bodies. He had discussed (May 1995) with D. Mumford, the President
of the IMU, the possibility that the EMS could have observer status in the IMU.
Meetings had also taken place with the General Secretary of the ESF and with
a member of the relevant Commissioner's staff of the EU. A new letterhead (in
English and French) was presented by Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and approved by
the EC. All of these manifold activities were important and would, as a bonus,
lead to an increase in the EMS's visibility.
The server of the EMS, called the European
Mathematical Information Server (EMIS), had begun to function at http://www.emis.de.
The intention was to exploit the potentiality of the server by ensuring that
mathematical information as regards journals, activities, Congress news, etc.
was fully provided. It was essential to disseminate an awarenes of the server
and its benefits amongst the European mathematical community.
The name 'Diderot Mathematical Forum'
was bestowed on a series of conferences each of which was to take place simultaneously
in three different locations; the name 'Diderot' was chosen to commemorate the
French philosopher who had directed the famous 'Encyclopédie', one aim
of which was the popularisation of science. In each location an audience of
100-200 was anticipated, the general scheme involving a plenary session, several
parallel sessions, round tables and a lecture for a general audience. The project
of the Diderot Forums began in 1996 and was to be successful in covering the
applications of mathematics and the relation of mathematics with society.
Changes were being made to the Newsletter
and it was intimated that the Southampton team wished to retire from editorial
duties. It was necessary to have a new team but one which, for obvious reasons,
should contain a native English speaker.
The first announcement of the Budapest
Congress, ECM96, had appeared. There was concern that the initial publicity
of the Congress had not been as extensive as might have been expected. The EC
agreed to send two persons to Budapest to liaise with organisers of the Congress
and also to gain information on the selection of the site of ECM2000.
As part of the drive to promote a greater
visibility for the EMS it was felt that the EMS should participate in a joint
committee with the ESF and the European Science and Technology Assembly (ESTA).
The proposal was that the EMS, ESF and ESTA would appoint two, one and three
members respectively of this joint committee to present definite programme proposals
in mathematics to the ESF.
The search committee for an editor-in-chief
of JEMS had been active. This committee, which consisted of the President, past-President,
Pierre-Louis Lions and G. Faltings, proposed the name of J. Jost, who subsequently
Co-operation with European mathematical
societies in applied areas was sought but some difficulties had been encountered
since these societies did not want to approach the EU in combination with the
EMS, believing that a joint approach would not be to their advantage. The EC
was keen to give tangible evidence of interest in applied mathematical areas
and was disappointed, but not discouraged, by the responses.
The EMS was perceived to have an obligation
to take direct action in regard to WMY2000, but just what action could be taken,
apart from some co-ordinating role, was not too clear. It was certainly important
to show that mathematics was the key to scientific development and to improve
the public image of mathematics. The EC was interested in knowing what projects
were being planned generally in Europe. Certain European countries were preparing
to issue in the year 2000 stamps with portraits of famous mathematicians; the
development of mathematics 1950-2000 was being written up by a group under J.-P.
Pier (Luxembourg), so continuing a definitive monograph for 1900-1950.
The first EMS lectures had taken place
very successfully at Besançon on 12-15 June 1995, and had been given
by H.W. Lenstra, jr. Seven other speakers also gave talks of which three to
four had been presented, each day, to the 90 or so people who had attended.
The meeting of the EC at Besançon
had much to consider; the topics for discussion ranged from the Fifth Framework
Programme to the plans for the Congress in Budapest.
The EMS-ESF-ESTA group was to make representations
to the EU concerning the Fifth Framework Programme. It was important for the
EU to realise that the production of new mathematics was unabated and to appreciate
the impact of mathematics on society.
The EC was concerned by a report from
J.-M. Deshouillers on behalf of the Committee on Eastern Europe. The difficulty
of obtaining support for travel by East European mathematicians and the problems
of East European libraries were well known. A programme of support for travel
to specialised meetings had been expected to produce a deluge of applications
but had, perplexingly, produced only a trickle. Since the need for the support
had not disappeared, it appeared that the funding was not being accurately targeted.
It was resolved to direct the funding towards support for the satellite conferences
expected to take place around the time of the Budapest Congress.
The EC wished to co-operate in the establishment
of appropriate European databases, to this end an agreement with FIZ concerning
EMIS was signed. Adequate consideration had always to be given to the right
of an individual not to have his or her name on any database; measures were
to be taken to protect any individual's desired anonymity.
Arrangements for the Council meeting in
Budapest were considered. The need for statements by, or on behalf of, candidates
for positions on the EC was essential. Possible future membership of the EC
The problems of developing countries received
considerable attention. Problems of access to journals and textbooks were many
and it was thought that publishers could alleviate the problems by offering
journals and textbooks at reduced prices to such countries. Sometimes there
was also a shortage of qualified teachers but, on the other hand, in some of
these countries a high level of mathematical teaching existed. Groups in Africa
had indicated wishes for closer connections with the EMS.
Policy decisions in Brussels frequently
had implications for European mathematics. The Human Capital and Mobility Programme
had been cancelled to be replaced by a Programme on the Training and Mobility
of Researchers. It was important to emphasise to the EU that mathematics had
needs which were different from the other sciences, for which large-scale facilities
might be an advantage. Evidently the EU favoured large networks but smaller
networks would be more appropriate for mathematics. Rather than seek an exception
from the EU for mathematics, a more productive approach was thought to be for
mathematicians to merge applications to create large networks. The need to lobby
in Brussels was evident.
The EC received the reports on the four
potential sites for 3ECM, as ECM2000 was also called. All sites were considered
to be suitable, but, after much agonising, the EC eventually voted narrowly
to recommend Brighton to the Budapest meeting of the Council.
A report was given to the EC of a visit
which had been made to Budapest on 28-30 September, 1995. It was learned that
Malev Air Travel would be the official travel agent and would be responsible
for all organisation including the distribution of the lecture halls. The EC
was perturbed to learn that finance was still a problem although assurances
had been given that the Congress could be run without a hoped-for subvention
from Brussels. No plans had been formulated for publishing the proceedings of
the Congress and other matters, including money for prizes, were unresolved.
In spite of the difficulties the Congress was nevertheless expected to run.
The EC met at Bures-sur-Yvette in the
pleasant surroundings of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques for its
last meeting before the Budapest Congress. The impending meeting of the Council
occasioned much deliberation. The EC debated whether there was a need for strict
adherence to the By-law which obliged any President to be a delegate to the
Council. The question was posed as to whether a person could be elected to the
Presidency and then become a delegate albeit in an ex
officio position. Unfortunately, the opinion of
the Registration office in Finland (where the Society has its legal seat) was
subsequently entirely negative; the President, as Chairman of the EC, could
not legally be an ex officio
member of the Council on the grounds that the Council was the supreme authority
of the Society. The only way out of this impasse would be an amendment to the
By-law which would require careful drafting and a notification to the delegates.
Certain corporate members had either sought
waivers or had failed to pay fees, a notable example being the Spanish Mathematical
Society which had never paid fees. The Gesellschaft für Mathematische Forschung,
the controlling body of 'Oberwolfach', had its fees waived for a further five
years. Not perhaps too surprisingly the Gesellschaft für Informatik intimated
that it wished to discontinue its membership.
A key and perennial matter was the promotion
of awareness of the EMS. It was proposed that there should be a 'club' for academic
institutions, European research agencies and business corporations with an interest
in mathematics. The club would have, amongst its aims, the promotion of contacts
between mathematical bodies, the enhancing of the image of mathematics in the
European media and, in particular, the making of representations on themes of
common interest such as the Fifth Framework Programme of the EU.
The arrangements for the Budapest Congress
were of concern. While the plenary and section speakers had been determined,
uncertainty remained in regard to the round tables and the financing of the
prizes. Several mathematical societies had generously given substantial contributions
in support of the Congress and further support was promised from the EU, UNESCO
and the IMU.
Electronic means whether in publishing
or in constructing databases occupied the EC. A draft charter for electronic
publishing was under consideration. It was noted that the ZM had improved its
CD-access and its interface. The contents of ZM from its inception in 1931 until
the present had recently become electronically available. The ZM was also involved
in a project with the MR to make a database from the Jahrbuch über Fortschritte
der Mathematik. This project, which had the blessing of the EC and the American
Mathematical Society (AMS) had, as its goal, the production of a database covering
the mathematical literature from 1868 to 1942.
The future of the Newsletter had become
problematic since a new UK editorial team had to be found. The Secretary suggested
that a way forward was to inaugurate a multilingual newsletter which would draw
upon, among others, the DMV Mitteilungen and the SMF Gazette de Mathématiques.
The variety of languages in which the mathematical societies in Europe published
items of, mainly, national interest and the dubious interest of readers in a
combined publication, however skilfully contrived, posed obvious problems. The
upshot, after a meeting in Strasbourg of representatives from several of the
journals, was that it was decided not to pursue this somewhat idealistic proposal.
However, this meeting did secure the goodwill of the representatives with a
view to collaboration of the editors of the national newsletters and journals
in articles of suitably wide interest.
J.-P. Boudine and W. Palli made a presentation
of a scheme to test adults in their level of knowledge of mathematics. The scheme,
which was in response to an initiative of the EU, was later to be presented
at the Budapest Congress under the title 'A European Knowledge Certification
Network System'. The EC agreed to take part in the refereeing of the tests.
Council Budapest 1996
The activities of the EC, over the previous
two years, had increased considerably and so the Council Meeting had much information
to digest. In his Presidential address, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon drew attention,
first of all, to the creation of the EMIS server (http://www.emis.de) and to
proposals for its further development. He highlighted three other areas of activity.
The EC had been working towards an extension of the ZM into a European database
which would come under the scientific responsibility of the EMS; the first step
in this extension had already been taken with co-operation between the ZM and
the Cellule de Documentation Mathématique, 'MathDocCell', (Université
Joseph Fourier, Grenoble) which was supported by the French Ministry of Education
and the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He drew attention
to the 'club' for European mathematical organisations which could exert influence
on the Fifth Framework Programme of the EU. He remarked upon the obvious need
for publicity for mathematics and for the EMS; partly to achieve the publicity,
a Press Agency was being formed which, it was hoped, would collect material
from, and provide material for, national newspapers.
Elections to the EC passed off more easily
than on previous occasions. The only electoral excitement was whether the two
newly-elected institutional members, which were both actually presented, could
have a vote and, if so, who could be their delegate. With some hesitation, it
was overwhelmingly agreed that the representative of the Institut Non-Linéaire
de Nice could act as delegate and vote. Andrzej Pelczar was elected unanimously
as Vice-President. There were seven nominations for four positions as ordinary
members of the EC. A nominating committee, meeting overnight, made a selection
of five nominations. In the ensuing vote on the seven nominations, the four
persons elected as members were amongst the five selected. They were Bodil Branner,
Rolf Jeltsch, Marta Sanz-Solé and Anatoly Vershik.
The financial statements and budget projections
were welcomed. Aatos Lahtinen was able to report that by 1995 there were 47
corporate members of which 33 had fully paid fees, two had partly paid fees
and one had been granted a waiver of the fees; the remaining 11 corporate members
had neither paid, nor asked for a waiver of, the fees. With great reluctance
the Council decided unanimously to declare that the Spanish Mathematical Society,
which in fact had never officially accepted membership of the EMS and which
had not paid any fees, was not to be considered a member of the EMS.
Some disappointment was expressed concerning
the somewhat low individual membership of around 1600. Various ways and means
were suggested by which the EMS could become better known to European mathematicians.
The low figure of the individual membership had an implication for a decision
of a previous Council that a comprehensive review of the Statutes should be
undertaken when the individual membership reached 3000, a number whose achievement
was beginning to seem unlikely. Apart from the difficulty that the President
of the EMS could only be chosen from the delegates to a Council meeting, the
Statutes and By-laws did appear to be fairly satisfactory and consequently no
action was proposed.
The reports from the Committees were carefully
digested and commented upon. EUROMATH was commented upon. A new project by the
EMT and the European Mathematical Centre in Denmark and directed at Eastern
Europe received favourable commendation. The Committees on Developing Countries
and on Education had not been very effective.
Much work had been done on publicity and
a new, attractive brochure for the Society had been produced by the Publicity
Officer, Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel. Luc Lemaire, as Liaison Officer with the
EU, gave an informative account of relations with the EU; he remarked that the
Server of the EU at http://www.cordis.lu gave useful information on EU Programmes.
The fourth Framework Programme was about to close but the EMS had been able
to make representations in regard to the Fifth which was then being planned.
He commented, however, that the EU moved very slowly, an example of slowness
being the length of time from the submission of an application for funding for
the Budapest Congress to the granting of the funding which, on the very eve
of the Congress, was still only promised for some date after the actual Congress.
He stressed the need for effective lobbying in Brussels.
Good news was forthcoming in regard to
the Committee on Eastern Europe. Travel expenses for many mathematicians from
Eastern Europe had been satisfactorily arranged although a project to aid East
European libraries had not been successful.
The Council was pleased at progress in
matters pertaining to electronic publishing and to the construction of a European
database. A so-called 'current awareness programme' was being developed by which
the contents of journals together with the abstracts of papers would be available
as early as possible. The material from publishers was intended to go to the
office of the ZM from which it would be sent to the database MATH and to EMIS.
The Council was informed of the progress
with JEMS, J. Jost having been appointed Editor-in-Chief. The Newsletter itself
was to have a change of editorial team from Southampton University to Glasgow
Brief comments were made in relation to
the Committee on Women in Mathematics. The pertinent point was that women and
men were likely to have different career patterns to which due consideration
should be given.
A pleasing feature of the Council was
the attendance of observers from three mathematical societies from continents
other than Europe. The President of the Chinese Mathematical Society, K. C.
Chang, spoke of a desire to have common projects with the EMS and drew attention
to the bid to have the ICM in 2002 in Beijing. The President of the African
Mathematical Union, A. Kerkour, outlined the work of the Union in organising
symposia and other events. Finally a short presentation was made by the Executive
Director of the AMS, J. Ewing, in which a wish for co-operation was expressed.
He observed that there was overlap between the ZM and MR and that, between these
journals, there was scope for joint ventures, one of which, involving the Jahrbuch
der Mathematik, was working well.
Discussion of the site for 3ECM in 2000
was, as expected, a prolonged affair. As earlier described, there were four
potential sites, namely Barcelona, Brighton, Copenhagen and Turin; of these,
the EC had recommended Brighton. The bid for Turin was withdrawn and so the
Council was left to adjudicate amongst three possible sites. Presentations were
made on behalf of each of these three sites and questions were asked by the
Council. In the ballot that followed, Barcelona, Brighton and Copenhagen received
36, 13 and 7 votes respectively, rejecting the EC's recommendation and selecting
Barcelona. The timetable for 4ECM in 2004 was agreed, any bids having to reach
the Secretariat in Helsinki by 31 December 1998.
As the date of this particular Council
meeting happened to coincide with the President's birthday, cakes with candles
were brought to the meeting room, thus permitting the delegates to round off
the meeting with an agreeable but modest consumption of cake and wine.
The opening ceremony of ECM96 took place
on the next day after the Council meeting. Apart from a protracted registration
procedure, the Congress went very well and the Janos Bolyai Mathematical Society
could be congratulated on the final outcome of many hours of anxious deliberations.
In his opening address the President opined that mathematics had become a key
for the harmonious development of modern societies. G.O.H. Katona, Chairman
of the Organising Committee, responded by describing the Congress as a demonstration
of the vital unity of the mathematical life in Europe.
1996 to Pre-Council Berlin 1998
The first EC meeting after Budapest took
place in Cambridge where the EC were entertained to dinner by the Edinburgh
and London Mathematical Societies and had the pleasure of a reception hosted
by Sir Michael Atiyah. The Budapest Congress was considered to be a great success.
In financial terms, the EMS had covered the expenses of the Scientific Committee
of the Congress (about 10,000 ecu) and was pleased that the EU had finally made
a positive decision to give a retrospective grant of 40,000 ecu; furthermore
UNESCO had given a grant of 20,000 US dollars. A junior Congress, which had
been held in Miskolc (Hungary), had been successful and a repeat was warranted,
possibly also in Miskolc.
The First Diderot Mathematical Forum had
taken place in September 1996. Good audiences had been attracted to a very interesting
programme of simultaneous events but the telecommunication connections had proved
to be a disappointment; the discussions between London and Zürich had actually
had to be videotaped in advance before release to the three sites.
Relations with the EU were again an important
part of the EC's deliberations. The plans for a European database required that
lobbying should be undertaken in Brussels so that it could be accepted as a
large-scale facility under the Fifth Framework Programme. It had been observed
with concern that the philosophy underlying the known documents for the Fifth
Framework Programme did not acknowledge differences between disciplines but
was very much directed towards industrial mathematics. A document summarising
the concerns of the EC was accordingly to be prepared for sending to Brussels.
Various proposals were mooted in regard
to extending the scope of the Newsletter. The discussion was opportune since
a new editorial team was in place and the new editor, Roy Bradley, was present.
Suggestions included the formation of an editorial board and the publication
in the Newsletter of an opinion column.
A convenient arrangement for paying EMS
membership fees, particularly designed for Eastern European mathematicians,
was to be introduced by the ZM. The ZM and the EC agreed that the reviewers
for the ZM could put their fees for reviewing towards payment of individual
The EC, at its meeting in Vienna, received
news of progress in the arrangements of 3ECM in Barcelona. The committees charged
with organising the several aspects of the Congress were being set up. The EC
expressed the view that a connection with WMY2000 should be promoted and that,
perhaps, during the opening ceremony a non-technical lecture could be given
on the impact of mathematics on modern society. Generally, however, there was
both relief and pleasure that arrangements were on schedule.
J. Jost, Editor-in-Chief of JEMS, presented
his plans for the journal to be published by Springer-Verlag. It was planned
that the first issue would appear in Berlin during ICM98. An electronic version
was intended to be freely available after three years. The EC was reminded of
the intention that, as envisaged in the Letter of Intent, there should be survey
papers in JEMS.
EMIS was extending its coverage and the
number of mirrors was growing rapidly. It was reported that the AMS mirror was,
unfortunately, mostly offline and that no mirror for Japan had been found.
Problems of the visibility of the EMS
and of mathematics generally continued to exercise the EC. Clearly the press
and its journalists had to be better informed of the contribution of mathematics
to society. A Mathematical Press Agency, under the acronym EMPRESSA, was being
set up in Strasbourg and aimed at mathematicians and journalists. Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel
was to represent the EMS on this enterprise.
The appropriate response to WMY2000 presented
the EC with some difficulties. The millennium aim of better informing the general
public about the contribution of mathematics to society was highly estimable
but the EC was faced with the practical task of implementing this aim. A committee
had been set up under V. L. Hansen to propose ideas and to co-ordinate efforts.
Members of this committee met the EC to discuss what was under consideration.
Since 3ECM would take place in Barcelona and a survey might be made in 2000
of the development of mathematics from its earliest beginnings, it seemed appropriate
to review Arabic and European mathematical interactions by means of a conference
in Granada, the city of the famous Alhambra. The idea was clearly worth exploring
but local interest in the conference was essential. A proposal to have a symposium
in relation to Hilbert's problem, at the time of EXPO 2000, in Hanover, met
with favourable approval. Among other possibilities considered was the placing
of mathematical posters in certain European cities and the printing of postage
stamps commemorating WMY2000 by various European countries.
The EMS had been asked by the EU Commission
to set up reference levels for young people at three different ages and levels
with 16 being a priority for age consideration. It was agreed that the Education
Committee would, after possible enlargement, undertake the task which was to
be completed, with recommendations, by June 1998.
The EC met in October 1997 on the romantic
island of Capri in a hotel directly across the bay from Mount Vesuvius. Perhaps
the surroundings were mildly prophetic since the meeting was to proceed smoothly
except for one minor eruption. This eruption centred on ERCOM which was a committee
consisting of the Scientific Directors (or their representatives) of European
Research Centres in Mathematics. Discussions about ERCOM, in which both the
retiring and newly-appointed members of the EC were involved, had taken place
by e-mail at the end of 1996. From these somewhat confused discussions, it was
concluded that a majority of the EC was in favour of establishing ERCOM as a
committee of the EMS. Following a meeting in Luminy in 1997 ERCOM prepared draft
terms of reference for the EC for its Vienna meeting in April, 1997. This led
to further confusion within the EC with the consequence that the minute of April
1997 relating to ERCOM was not agreed until a revised version was agreed in
Capri. Under the finally-agreed minute, ERCOM became a committee of the EMS;
only research centres for which the number of visiting staff substantially exceeded
the number of permanent and long-term staff were eligible for membership of
ERCOM, the chair and secretary of which were to be appointed by the EC. This
eventual outcome, achieved about a year after the initial suggestion, illustrated
the perils of trying to use e-mail to resolve complicated issues. After the
excitement of ERCOM subsided, the meeting in Capri proceeded with its more accustomed
The Secretary was able to report the good
news that EMIS had extended its operations to involve 27 mirrors and one further
mirror was expected shortly in Japan. This extension encreased the visibility
of the EMS which, regretfully, did not have all of its activities given proper
account in EMIS. This situation required to be remedied. Continuity of operations
was also very important and it was therefore very satisfactory that the Schrödinger
Institute (Vienna) would acquire a computer in order to provide a back-up of
the central server of the EMIS.
A matter of some concern related to contracts
into which the EMS might enter with other bodies, particularly the EU. Contracts
had already been entered into but in a rather informal fashion; it was, of course,
a responsibility of the EMS to satisfy the conditions of any contract. Since
some of these contracts had seemingly to be decided fairly quickly, the GPC
had made the decisions. It was agreed that the GPC could enter into contracts
on behalf of the EMS without any financial limits. This last, possibly unwise,
provision imposed considerable responsibility on the members of the GPC. It
was also agreed that for contracts to hold mathematical conferences no, or at
most low, overheads should accrue to the EMS.
The Committees for 3ECM were nearly set
up, the Scientific Committee was complete and the Prize and Round Tables Committee
were soon to be set up. The EC agreed to provide a loan to support the expenses
of the Scientific Committee.
Considerations of the language or languages
in which articles could be accepted for JEMS prompted an interesting debate.
On the one hand, there was the view that English had become the scientific lingua
franca (to revert to an Italianate phrase) and so all articles should be in
English; on the other hand, it was felt that a European journal ought to reflect
cultural diversity and allow some of the more widely spoken European languages.
On a narrow vote of 4 votes for, 3 against and 1 abstention, the EC upheld the
view of the Editor-in-Chief that only English would be acceptable.
Proposals were presented for improvement
in the appearance and content of the Newsletter. These were duly implemented
in the new style Newsletter No. 27 of 1998, the cover of which was transformed
from a uniform blue colour to a polychromatic splendour, carrying photographs
of Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and Sir Michael Atiyah.
A problem had arisen in regard to the
EMS lectures. Originally it had been intended that they should be published
in JEMS but an alternative means of publication was required. It was agreed
that there should be an EMS Lecture Note Series which could publish these lectures
as well as the proceedings of the Summer Schools, activities of both sorts being
worthy of wider dissemination.
Negotiations, not directly involving the
EC, had culminated in a very significant Memorandum of Understanding which,
if agreed, the President would be required to sign on behalf of the EMS. The
other parties to the Memorandum, which was on The European Extension of the
Mathematics Information Services (MATH database, CompactMATH, ZM), were the
Editorial and Co-operational Partners of the ZM/Mathematics Abstract comprising
the Heidelberg Academy of Science, FachInformationsZentrum Karlsruhe and Springer-Verlag.
The objectives embodied in the Memorandum were quite far-reaching. The Memorandum
had originated in a strongly held feeling that there was a need for a comprehensive
electronic database, centred in Europe, of all mathematical publications which
would thereby form an invaluable and indispensable research tool for working
mathematicians; such a tool would naturally complement other similar tools from
North America. The aims were to expand the database of the ZM into a European
Mathematical database. The EMS would be able to promote the worldwide distribution
of the MATHdatabase as part of EMIS through its mirror sites. The EMS would
undertake to set up a Current Awareness Programme (CAP-EMS) to which publishers
would provide basic data for transmission by EMIS and for storage by the MATH
database. Finally, the EMS would promote projects on a European level concerning
the development of new technology in regard to MATH; the EMS had already contributed
to this promotion by asking the EU that the MATHdatabase should be recognised
as a 'Large Facility' under the Fifth Framework Programme. As a stage in the
implementation of basic objectives the French Ministry of Education had already
approved a project group 'MathDocCell' to support French-German co-operation
in regard to the ZM. The EC was in full agreement in taking the fairly momentous
step of empowering Jean-Pierre Bourguignon to sign the Memorandum by which the
EMS would be committed to the grand endeavour and would become a full member
of the Editorial and Co-operational Contract for the ZM.
During a visit to Estonia, Jean-Pierre
Bourguignon had been given by the Estonian Mathematical Society a multi-lingual
mathematical dictionary (naturally including Estonian). It was remarked that
a Catalan-English and other multi-lingual dictionaries existed. The EC was interested
to determine whether, using the resources of the EU, enlargement into other
languages of the dictionary from Estonia could be produced.
The EC returned to Helsinki for its March
1998 meeting. The weather was sunny and cold (-10oC overnight) but the accommodation was warm and comfortable.
The need for pan-European contacts was
clear to the EC. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and Luc Lemaire had been very assiduous
in promoting relations with the European Commission so that the EMS was recognised
as the point of contact for mathematics by the Commission. Several EU/EC contracts
concerning EMS activities had been secured. However, problems had occasionally
arisen on the part of the EC since the outcomes of the contracts had not always
been properly reported to the EU but action was being taken to tighten procedures.
A presentation of the database MATH-ZM
was made by J. Coates, on behalf of the EMS, to a meeting of ESTA. Another contact
which it was intended to follow up was with the International Association for
the Promotion of Co-operation with Scientists from the New Independent States
of the Former Soviet Union (mercifully abbreviated as INTAS).
The increase in the number of mirrors
of EMIS was encouraging; there were around 33 including ones in Bogota and Japan,
and the AMS mirror was functioning well. In addition, there were 25 journals
on the server with agreements covering 45 journals, including Documenta Mathematica,
from which it could be expected that the proceedings of ICM98 would appear in
EMIS. The activities of the EMS were apparently still not adequately presented
on the server and action was therefore called for. It was expected that the
user and interface of EMIS would be improved through the European Libraries
and Electronic Resources in the Mathematical Sciences (EULER). EULER was a project
which was partly funded by the EU in the Telematics for Libraries sector and
which would provide a user-oriented integrated network-based access to mathematical
publications. Activities to be covered included the provision of bibliographic
databases, library online public access catalogues, electronic journals from
publishers, online archives of preprints and indexes of mathematical internet
resources. The EMS was an institutional partner but without financial obligation
in the project.
Means of further increasing the publicity
for the EMS were considered. Additional copies of the Newsletter, which was
being revamped, were to be printed in order to be available at ICM98 in Berlin.
The saga of ERCOM finally ended happily
with a small, but not entirely insignificant, change to its remit, under which
the eligibility of Research Centres to join ERCOM was to be decided by the EC
after consultation with ERCOM.
In August 1998, conveniently for the EMS
schedule of meetings, ICM98 was held in Berlin. A display booth was taken at
the Congress and an informal reception was organised for members of the Society
in the Lichthof of the Technical University. At the reception, the new publication
JEMS was officially announced with accompanying speeches from the President,
F. Hirzebruch (past-President), J. Heinze (Springer-Verlag) and H. Hofer (an
editor of JEMS).
At its Berlin meeting, held during ICM98,
the EC received a report of the Diderot Mathematical Forum of June 1998 and
of plans for new Forums. The Forum in June had had difficulty with its telecommunication
links but the fascinating diversity and high level of the lectures could not
fail to have been very successful. Interest had been expressed in having a Diderot
Mathematical Forum to include an American city but due account would have to
be taken of obvious time differences.
Problems of publication were considered.
A design for the front cover of JEMS was agreed. A more fundamental issue was
whether the EMS should become a publisher like a number of other mathematical
societies. The pros and cons of this issue were debated without definite conclusions.
Opinions were more sharply divided on
whether the Newsletter should publish a particular article which had arisen
from a questionnaire sent to three Russian mathematicians, D.V. Anosov, V.I.
Arnold and A. Vershik, the last being a member of the EC. There was considerable
disquiet over the reply received from Arnold as to its suitability for publication.
After an animated debate the EC voted decisively for publication. This action
by the EC contained within itself the seed of potential difficulty as it set
a precedent for the removal from the editor of the Newsletter of the discretion
as to whether to accept or reject any future article.
Council Berlin 28-29
The Council met in the Senatssaal of the
Humboldt University in the Eastern part of Berlin. The delegates to the Council
numbered 57 which was rather fewer than might have been expected from a possible
number of around 80. The meeting was uncontentious but problems of communication
during the meeting were often trying, since it early became apparent that the
acoustics of the room could easily render speeches partially inaudible.
Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, as President,
reviewed the work of the EMS. He had much to report, what with the developments
of JEMS, Diderot Mathematical Forums, EMS copyright of ZM-MATH, etc., items
which had much occupied the EC. He stated that the EMS existed to promote the
development of a European identity, while preserving diversity, amongst mathematicians
in Europe. He drew attention to the many European countries facing financial
difficulties and to the declines in the enrolments of students. He stressed
that, although unemployment among young mathematicians was low because of the
demand for their services, students needed to be prepared adequately for work
in industry and business. He felt that the EMS could actively tackle the ensuing
problems of preparation and could relate mathematics to society in general.
In his report as Secretary, Peter Michor
briefly gave an account of the EULER project and of the intention of devising
a better interface for EMIS, a better search machine and a better preprint server.
The Council was advised that a grant of one million ecu had been assigned to
the project by the EU but that the EMS had no responsibility for the grant.
The financial statement of Aatos Lahtinen
passed without comment. The proposal to increase the corporate fee by 8% and
to leave the individual member's fee unchanged was accepted.
Efforts to improve the visibility of the
EMS had led to the production of new and colourful leaflets and to a new format
for the Newsletter. Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, Publicity Officer, did remark
however that EMPRESSA of Strasbourg had not attained the expected level of activity.
The (tabled) report of the EU Liaison
Officer, Luc Lemaire, drew attention to success in influencing the Fifth Framework
Programme for Research and Development and for getting the ZM recognised as
a large facility. Funding, after many efforts, had been achieved for ECM96 in
Budapest, but a request by the EU to the EMS for a description of the contents
of school programmes in mathematics in the different EU countries had, temporarily,
been thwarted by the EU's own bureaucracy.
Concern was palpable at the number of
societies with unpaid dues. It was agreed that these societies should be warned
of the possibility of expulsion from the EMS. More joyfully, the Royal Spanish
Society of Mathematics and the Spanish Society of Applied Mathematics were elected
as corporate members. The European Consortium for Industrial Mathematics (ECMI)
was also elected as a corporate member. The Mathematical Institute of the Serbian
Academy of Sciences was elected as an institutional member by 34 votes with
none against, but the unusually large number, 18, of abstentions seemed to indicate
The elections to the official positions
on the EC proceeded without problem, the recommendations of the EC being wholly
followed, namely Rolf Jeltsch for President, Luc Lemaire for Vice-President,
David Brannan for Secretary, and Olli Martio for Treasurer. A straightforward
secret ballot resolved the election for the two ordinary members of the EC,
Doina Cioranescu and Renzo Piccinini being elected.
Peter Michor, by dint of his enthusiasm
and dedication, had done much to establish and to improve EMIS. He was able
to give the Council a full report of the achievements; EMIS had a direct link
to ZM-MATH and it contained an electronic library with well-defined guidelines
under which only properly refereed journals were accepted. At the time of reporting,
there were 31 such journals. He reported that EMIS had 20 mirrors in Europe
and announced gleefully that there were mirrors in all continents - except Antarctica.
The Council indicated its especial approval of the activities in regard to ZM-MATH.
One of the Committees reporting to the
Council was that on Women and Mathematics. An objective of this Committee was
a redressing of the disproportion in the representation of the sexes in the
mathematical profession. Information, which had been collected about the proportion
of female mathematicians in the mathematical community of the countries of Europe,
showed that the proportion varied between 2% and 50%, Germany and Switzerland
being particularly unfavourable to women. It could only be hoped that, in Councils
to come, rather more evenly-balanced statistics would emerge.
S. Xambo Deschamps, chair of the Organising
Committee of 3ECM, presented the plans for the Barcelona Congress. Much effort
had clearly been put into the planning of the Congress but the item which aroused
the Council was the list of plenary speakers as chosen by the Scientific Committee.
It was not evident that the Council had sufficient knowledge with which to comment
upon the list; furthermore the propriety of even launching into a discussion
of the list was, at best, questionable. However, the Council was not deterred
by such considerations and after debate voted by majorities to express its concern
on the perceived imbalance in the list of plenary speakers and to recommend
that every possible effort should be made to add two further plenary lectures
to the programme. After further extensive debate, the Council eventually voted
unanimously that the Scientific Committee should prepare a list of invited speakers
and themes of mini-symposia representing a broad spectrum of mathematics including
applications in the real world.
The Council concluded its formal business
by passing a motion, proposed by V. Villani, that the EC should continue its
good work and continue to promote a European perspective. Informally the incoming
President, R. Jeltsch, expressed gratitude for the energy and caring commitment
of the retiring President.
1998 to 31 December 1998
The final EC meeting of 1998 was in Copenhagen.
The EC was about to have a substantial change in membership so that the meeting
was quite large as the incoming EC members had been invited to attend.
Jean-Pierre Bourguignon was able to report
on several satisfactory outcomes in respect of certain international bodies.
He had had a meeting with Edith Cresson, then EU Commissioner in charge of Science,
and he and Luc Lemaire had had several subsequent meetings with members of her
staff. The main issues had been the Fifth Framework Programme and the possibility
of having ZM-MATH recognised as a large infrastructure.
A contract to produce a report for the
Organisation for Economical Co-operation and Development (OECD) had resulted
in almost 11,000 ecu for the EMS. It was expected that UNESCO in Venice would
provide a grant of 50,000 US dollars towards various projects, including, as
part of WMY2000, a Joint Mathematical European-Arabic Conference in Granada
(to be entitled 'Alhambra 2000'). The ESF had also been asked to consider support
for the ZM-MATH database and for the Diderot Mathematical Forums.
Various East European societies had, quite
understandably, sought fee waivers for their corporate memberships. The actual
individual membership of the EMS at 1 November, 1998, was 1782, not large by
comparison with the size of the mathematical community in Europe but a satisfactory
number none the less. The finances of the Society were generally in good shape
and with the modest income from contracts, the EC was able to set up a fund
for the financing of special projects.
A re-evaluation of the Council meeting
in Berlin was carried out. There was support for limiting the meeting to one
day but, on the other hand, it was very important that delegates should feel
that they had had full opportunity to express their views. Careful thought would
have to be given to the Council meeting in 2002 since it would be the first
Council meeting, apart from the inaugural meeting in Madralin, which would not
be attached to either a European or an International Congress.
The editorial policy and contents of the
Newsletter were discussed since from 1999 the Newsletter would have an editorial
team from the Open University (U.K.). R. Wilson, who subsequently accepted the
post of Editor-in-Chief, outlined his ideas for the Newsletter; these included
a division of responsibilities and the forming of a network of representatives
from member societies of the EMS. It was anticipated that an improvement in
the quality of the paper used for printing would permit the appearance of photographs;
it was acknowledged that a major upgrading would require increased advertising
revenue. On a more optimistic note, a draft Letter of Agreement for Publications
of the EMS with Springer-Verlag was discussed and agreed with some minor modifications.
The plans for ECM2000 were well under
way but unfortunately there was a snag in that the organisers in Barcelona were
unwilling to accept an Agreement which had been sent to them from the EC. After
some initial consternation, it was decided that a re-drafting of the Agreement
could be done after the meeting. (The re-draft was later accepted happily by
the Organisers). This episode demonstrated a requirement for the EC to be sensitive
to feelings and aspirations of societies and other bodies.
Discussion took place in regard to two
entities having the somewhat confusing acronyms of MPRESS and EMPRESSA, European
Mathematical Preprint Server System and Mathematical Press Agency respectively,
the first being an on-going project to develop a European system to facilitate
the search for, and worldwide access to, electronic preprints in mathematics
and the second being a press agency in Strasbourg!
Later, at dinner in Copenhagen, presentations
of attractive mementos were made to the retiring members of the EC. It was a
memorable and touching occasion.
The EMS has grown from embryonic beginnings
at Madralin into a fully-fledged pan-European Society which is consulted by
the Commission of the European Union. From the outset, a Newsletter was issued
and now a research journal, JEMS, has appeared; Congresses, courses, lectures,
seminars etc. have been successfully promoted; a European perspective has been
developed, not least in the burgeoning area of electronic means of communication
and data storage.
The Executive Committee can legitimately
claim much credit for what has been achieved. The contributions of the officials
and of the Secretariat has been acknowledged above. They could not have succeeded,
however, without the good work and dedication of the members of the EC and of
others appointed by the EC, many of whom are listed in the Appendix..
The business of the EC was always conducted
considerately and courteously; naturally, national traits were sometimes in
evidence but all participants worked as a team for the common good, thus affording
an exemplary model of European co-operation.
It was a rare privilege, cherished by
the author of this account, to have been a participant in the EC, and also in
the Council, throughout the eight years and, as a result, to have met and to
have become friends with so many engaging people.
Minutes of the EC and of the Council.
Documents of the EC.
Proceedings of European Congresses.
of the EMS (In
some cases membership was subject to ratification by each Society's
Austrian Mathematical Society
Belgium Mathematical Society
Bulgarian Mathematical Society
Union of Czech Mathematicians
Union of Slovak Mathematicians
Danish Mathematical Society
London Mathematical Society
Finnish Mathematical Society
French Mathematical Society
Georgian Mathematical Union
Greek Mathematical Society
Janos Bolyai Mathematical Society,
Iceland Mathematical Society
Irish Mathematical Society
Italian Mathematical Society
Luxembourg Mathematical Society
Wiskundig Genootschap, The Netherlands
Norwegian Mathematical Society
Polish Mathematical Society
Portuguese Mathematical Society
Romanian Mathematical Society
Edinburgh Mathematical Society
Swedish Mathematical Society
Swiss Mathematical Society
Spanish Mathematical Society
Moscow Mathematical Society
Union of the Societies of Mathematicians,
Physicists & Astronomers of Yugoslavia
Estonian Mathematical Society
Lithuanian Mathematical Society
Council and Executive Committee
Council (before EMS):
Madralin, 27-28 October 1990.
Council:Madralin, 28-30 October
Paris, 4-5 July 1992
Zürich, 12-13 August 1994
Budapest, 20-21 July 1996
Berlin, 28-29 August 1998
Oberwolfach, 19-20 January 1991
Oberwolfach, 19-20 October 1991
Prague, 28-29 March 1992
Paris, 7 July 1992
Helsinki, 24-25 October 1992
Erdotarcsa 26-28 March 1993
Lisbon 8-10 October 1993
Oberwolfach 19-20 March 1994
Cortona 7-9 October 1994
Cracow 10-12 March 1995
Hamburg 1-2 July 1995
Besançon 20-21 October
Bures-sur-Yvette 8-10 March 1996
Budapest 19 July 1996
Cambridge 11-13 October 1996
Vienna 4-7 April 1997
Capri 10-11 October 1997
Helsinki 21-22 March 1998
Berlin 25 August 1998
Copenhagen 28-29 November 1998
Presidents: 1990-94 Fritz
Hirzebruch (Bonn, Germany)
1995-98 Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
1990-92 Czeslaw Olech
1990-94 Alessandro Figà-Talamanca
Márki (Budapest, Hungary)
1995-98 David Wallace
1997-2000 Andrzej Pelczar
1990-94 Chris Lance (Leeds, U.K.)
Peter Michor (Vienna, Austria)
1992-September 1993 David Wallace (Glasgow, U.K.)
1995-98 Aatos Lahtinen (Helsinki, Finland)
1993-96 Eva Bayer-Fluckiger (Geneva, Switzerland/Besançon,
Alois Kufner (Prague, Czechoslovakia)
Antonio St. Aubyn (Lisbon, Portugal)
Pierre-Louis Lions (Paris, France)
(VP 1993) László Márki (Budapest,
Isabel Labouriau (Oporto, Portugal)
Andrzej Pelczar (Cracow, Poland)
Vsevolod Solonnikov (Moscow, Russia)
Alberto Conte (Turin, Italy)
Bodil Branner (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Rolf Jeltsch (Zürich, Switzerland)
Marta Sanz-Solé (Barcelona, Spain)
Anatoly Vershik (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Mäkeläinen (Helsinki, Finland)
by Executive Committee
Wallace (Glasgow, U.K.)
Chaleyat-Maurel (Paris, France)
Chairman of Publications:
Stewart Robertson (Southampton,
Carlos Casacuberta (Barcelona,
Luc Lemaire (Brussels, Belgium)
Eva Bayer-Fluckiger (Geneva, Switzerland/Besançon,
Labouriau (Oporto, Portugal)
Singerman & team (Southampton, U.K.)
R. Bradley & team (Glasgow,
Editors - Brief
I. Netuka & V. Soucek (Prague,
latterly Czech Republic)
At 31 December 1997 the EMS had
the Committees shown below. The names of the Chairs of these Committees
are shown in chronological order, the last name being that of the then
Hunt, P.-L. Lions (acting), A. Jami.
Bérard, G. Schiffels.
Nemetz, W. Dörfler, V. Villani.
Hirzebruch, J.-P. Bourguignon
Robertson, M. Sanz-Solé (acting), C. Casacuberta.
Márki, G. Monegato.
Support of East European Mathematicians:
Deshouillers, H. Zieschang.
Women and Mathematics:
Bayer-Fluckiger, C. Bessenrodt.
World Mathematical Year 2000
(later EU) Liaison: renamed Relations with European Institutions (discontinued
A. Figà-Talamanca, J.-P.
Paris 6-10 July 1992
Budapest 22-26 July 1996
Barcelona 10-14 July 2000
24-25 September 1996 - "Mathematics
19-20 December 1997 - "Mathematics
and the Environment"
5-6 June 1998 - "Mathematics
as a Force of Cultural Evolution".
Vienna - forthcoming
3-4 December 1999 - "Mathematics
the last Diderot Mathematical Forum of the period 1996-98 "Mathematics
as a Force of Cultural Evolution"
A. Frisius (Karlsruhe): "Mathematisches
Denken in der Neuen Musik"
G. Israel (Rome): "Mathematization
of economics : historical and epistemological questions".
D. King (Frankfurt): "Mathematics
in the service of religion : the case of Islam".
F. Kittler (Berlin): "Buchstaben
- Zahlen - Codes".
D. Nordon (Bordeaux): "La
mathématique et la langue".
I. Toth (Paris): "De Interpretatione
: Die Nichteuklidische Geometrie - Ergebnis der Kommentare zu Euklid".
F. Brüggen (Amsterdam): "La
musica ha buone ragioni".
E. Conti (Pisa): "Communicare
W. Jäger (Heidelberg): "Mathematics
and Biosciences : challenges and perspectives".
S. Mazzullo (Ferrara): "Matematica
e industria : uno scambio culturale".
M. Mugnai (Florence): "Pansare
P. Odifreddi (Torino): "Matematica
R. Duda (Wroclaw): "Mathematics
in the history of thought".
M. Heller (Cracow): "Conquests
of Mathematics : from the motion of projectiles to quantum vacuum".
G. and M. Klimek (Uppsala): "Mathematical
A. Lasota (Katowice): "Geometry
and applications of Fractals".
T. Luczak (Poznan): "Mathematics
A. Staruszkiewicz (Cracow): "Mathematics
of the fine structure constant".
29 July-9 August 1996
1-10 July 1996
"Analysis and Synthesis of
Nonlinear Oscillatory Systems".
Lisbon, Portugal, 1-10 September 1997
7-18 July 1997
22 July-8 August 1998
"Spaces with Singularities
29 June-10 July 1998
"Wavelet Methods in Analysis
1995, H.W. Lenstra Jr (Berkeley, US)
"Algorithms in algebraic
theory of numbers".
N. Cutland (Hull, UK) -
"Loeb measures in practice:
St. Petersburg, 1999, M. Lyubich
(SUNY Stony Brook,
"Real and complex dynamics".
Conferences in Mathematics
Methods in Industrial Problems
"Multi-scale Analysis in
Image Processing", Lunteren, The Netherlands, 15-20 October 1994.
"Mathematical and Numerical
Models for the Simulation of Turbulent and Reactive Flows", Mont
St. Odile (near Strasbourg), France, February 1996.
"Group Theory: Finite to
Infinite", Castelvecchio, Italy, 13-18 July 1996.
"Local singularities of solutions
to nonlinear and singular PDE's", San Feliu de Guixols, Spain,
19-24 September 1995.
and Arithmetical Geometry
of Modular Forms", San Feliu de Guixols, Spain, 24-29 October 1997.
Name and Location
1.The European Mathematical Society,
informally EMS, is an association established in accordance with the
laws of Finland.
2.Its seat is in Helsinki, Finland.
Purpose and nature
1.The purpose of the Society is
to promote the development of all aspects of mathematics in the countries
of Europe, with particular emphasis on those which are best handled
on an international level.
The Society will concentrate on
those activities which transcend national frontiers and it will in no
way seek to interfere with the national activities of the member societies.
In particular, the Society will,
in the European context, aim to promote mathematical research (pure
and applied), assist and advise on problems of mathematical education,
concern itself with the broader relations of mathematics to society,
foster the interaction between mathematicians of different countries,
establish a sense of identity amongst European mathematicians, and represent
the mathematical community in supra-national institutions.
2.To achieve its aims the Society
may prepare proposals and motions, make statements, organise courses
and seminars, arrange negotiations and meetings, operate as a publisher,
award grants and represent its membership.
3.The society may, as occasion
(a) act directly,
(b) act through national societies,
(c) co-operate with other bodies
having similar aims,
(d) set up subordinate bodies
for special tasks.
of the Society may be either
corporate bodies with legal status, or
number of non-Finnish members may exceed one third of the total.
2.Corporate bodies with legal
status may join the Society in one of the following categories:
(a) Full members,
(b) Associate members,
(c) Institutional members.
Full membership is restricted
to societies, or similar bodies, primarily devoted to promoting research
in pure or applied mathematics within Europe. Associate membership is
open to all societies in Europe having a significant interest in any
aspect of mathematics. Institutional membership is open to commercial
organizations, industrial laboratories or academic institutes.
3.Individuals may join the Society
in one of the following categories:
(a) Individuals belonging to a
corporate member of the EMS,
(b) Individuals not belonging
to a corporate member of the EMS.
Individual membership is open
to all individuals who make a contribution to European mathematics.
Duties of the
1.The Council is the supreme authority
of the organisation.
2.A Council meeting will specifically
(a) decide on the admission of
(b) determine the registration
and membership dues;
(c) receive the auditors' reports;
(d) confirm the financial statements
and discharge those concerned from liability;
(e) elect the President, the Vice-Presidents
and the other members of the Executive Committee;
(f) elect the auditors and their
(g) decide on the By-laws issued
by the Council;
(h) deal with any other matters
prepared by the Executive Committee.
Duties of the
1.The Executive Committee represents
the Society and shall have general charge of all matters concerning
the Society. In particular it shall:
(a) administer the assets and
property of the Society;
(b) appoint subordinate committees
entrusted with special tasks within the general framework of the
(c) prepare the matters to be
discussed by the Council meeting and convene the meeting;
(d) implement the resolutions
adopted by the Council meeting;
(e) appoint representatives of
the Society to scientific conferences or meetings.
2.The Executive Committee shall
appoint and dismiss the staff of the Society, define their duties and
confirm their remuneration.
III. The Executive
Rule 16: The President
shall be elected from among the members of the council. When more than
two candidates stand for election to a post on the Executive Committee
the candidate with the least number of votes shall stand down, at each
stage, and the ballot repeated until one candidate gets more than half
of the votes cast.