Message from the President, January 4, 2012
About a year ago, I assumed the position of President of the European Mathematical Society with my strong commitment to work for the mathematical community and to keep the EMS at the service of the best interests of our discipline. It is my pleasure to give an overview of the life of the Society and of some of its developments.
In the first executive committee this year, a series of actions directly connected with EMS membership were decided. The following have already been implemented:
- setting up the electronic newsletter EMS e-News,
- having corresponding members in each country, nominated by national societies,
- inviting mathematics departments in Europe to become EMS institutional members,
- offering free membership for one year to young people recommended by their supervisor or head of department,
- offering a reduced membership fee of 5 Euros to mathematicians working in developing countries.
With this, we hope to increase interaction with our members and to spread and to receive news of interest for mathematicians, to make our Society more widely known and to attract young people to join, to include in our network more mathematicians working under difficult conditions. The EMS e-News, whose editor-in-chief is Professor Mireille Chaleyat-Maurel, is sent by default to every EMS member. Published numbers are stored at http://www.euro-math-soc.eu/ems_enews.html. Let me remind you that the EMS Publishing House is offering a 20% discount on book purchases by any EMS member. Institutional members are also entitled to a 10% discount on subscriptions to journals published by the EMS PH. For individual members, discounts on personal journal subscriptions are also possible. We are currently working on the possibility of offering members free on-line access to our journals, and also to extend discounts on books published by other mathematical societies in Europe. The year ends with very good news. The actual EMS membership consists of about 3200 individual members, 58 full members, 28 institutional members and 3 associate members. These figures continue the positive and significant increment noticed in the recent years.
Collaboration with societies
Collaboration agreements with the Mathematical Union of Latin American Mathematicians (UMALCA), the International Association of Mathematical Physics (IAMP) and the Bernoulli Society for Mathematical Statistics and Probability (BS) have been signed and some joint activities have already emerged. I am happy to announce that the first EMS-IAMP Summer School on Mathematical Physics on Quantum Chaos will take place at the Erwin Schrödinger Institute in Vienna July 30-August 3, 2012. Also, on 7-8 July 2012, a joint EMS-BS Young Statisticians Weekend will take place in Istanbul, just prior to the 8th World Congress of the BS. With UMALCA, we plan to run some joint activities in connection with the Ars Conjectandi anniversary in 2013. During the year 2011, the Royal Spanish Mathematical Society (RSME) celebrated the centennial of its founding. This has been an opportunity to strengthen co-operation with EMS. The fourth Meeting of Presidents of EMS member societies was held in Bilbao on May 7-8, with a very large attendance and constructive discussions. Also in Bilbao, a joint EMS-RSME Mathematical Weekend took place on October 7-9. The centennial commemoration closed with a special session at the Spanish Senate, where a Declaration on Mathematics prepared by the Honour Committee of the Centennial was presented. In my role as President of EMS, I had the privilege to address the audience on this occasion of such an exceptional homage to our discipline. In 2012, we will also be involved in a commemoration as the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists (UCMP) celebrates its 150th anniversary. On this occasion, our Czech colleagues have invited Presidents of EMS member societies to have their Fifth Meeting in Prague on the 31st of March and the 1st of April. I take this opportunity to thank the UCMP for the invitation, to congratulate it for its past achievement and to express my best wishes for a brilliant future.
Next year will be full of exciting events. It will also be a year where crucial decisions on scientific funding will be taken at European level. On June 30-July 1, the EMS Council will meet in Kraków. Preliminary preparations have already begun. The Council is a place where ideas for new initiatives can be brought up, where the Executive Committee gets advice and guidance from delegates. I strongly encourage the membership to take an active part on this assembly, by providing suggestions for the agenda to their delegates. European Congresses of Mathematics are the flagship of EMS scientific activities. As you know, the 6ecm will take place in Kraków, 2-7 July. With a short history of 20 years, ecm’s are recognized as one of the highest level conferences in mathematics worldwide. Do not miss the opportunity to participate in this extraordinary event, to meet outstanding mathematicians and to honour the winners of EMS awards: the EMS Prizes, the Felix Klein Prize and the Otto Neugebauer Prize. In Kraków, you will also have the opportunity to learn more about a newly created Book Award for a monograph, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of the EMS Publishing House. Last November 30, the European Commission released a proposal for Horizon 2020, the next EU framework programme for research and innovation. The EMS participated actively in several aspects of this processes. A EMS Position Paper was written and sent to EU officials. The EMS also contributed through the Initiative of Science in Europe to different EU consultation processes (http://www.initiative-science-europe.org/) A superficial analysis of the draft budget of Horizon 2020 leads to the following conclusions: the budget of the European Research Council will be almost doubled, and the budget of Marie Curie actions will increase by 37%. However, the ERC started very low in 2007, and the share of Marie Curie in FP7 is 9%, whereas only 7% in Horizon 2020. Moreover, final decisions by the Parliament might be influenced by the evolution of the financial crisis. In co-operation with ISE, we plan to go into a deeper analysis and to translate it into a short statement to be conveyed to EC officials.
Shaping a roadmap
Last August, the Executive Committee held a one-day brainstorming meeting kindly hosted by the Mittag-Leffler Institute. The meeting was enhanced by the presence of three EMS past-presidents. Among the topics: why the EMS is needed; the role of EMS with respect to EU institutions; fund raising; international relations and allies. One of the results of the meeting is a list of future projects along with a ranked list of actions for the future. The list includes collection of data on several important aspects of the profession of mathematician, elaboration of a Forward Look for mathematics of the 21st century, establishment of collaborations between the EMS and business and industrial organizations, with learned societies of related disciplines; finding donor foundations and individuals; implementing a more professional structure of the Society to effectively manage the outgrowth of initiatives and the need of coordination. These are some of the keywords of the conclusions of the meeting.
It would be too long to report on the very many successful scientific activities where the EMS has been involved, and the high number of activities carried out within the EMS committees throughout 2011. These are all due to the altruistic efforts of many colleagues working behind the scenes. They deserve proper credit and acknowledgement. I hope to have provided you with a picture of the main objectives where we have concentrated our efforts. Without the continuing support and collaboration of the Executive Committee members, I would not have been able to address even a very small part of them. With my best wishes for a very successful year 2012 and a fruitful collaboration with you. Marta Sanz-Solé EMS President January 4, 2012