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U.S. National Committee for Mathematics

The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. adhering body of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and it maintains its relationship with the union through the U.S. National Committee (USNC)/Math. The objectives of the IMU are to promote international cooperation in mathematics, support the International Congress of Mathematicians and other international scientific meetings, and encourage other international mathematical activities.


Upcoming Events

Plan to Attend ICM 2018

The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) is the largest international congress in the mathematics community. It is held once every four years under the auspices of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The next ICM will be held August 1-9, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (  The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics sponsored a discussion, “ICM 2018 in Rio de Janeiro – The First International Congress of Mathematicians in the Southern Hemisphere”, on January 11 during the Joint Mathematics  Meetings (JMM). Marcelo Viani (IMPA), Chair of the ICM 2018 Organizing Committee, was the primary speaker, and his presentation slides can be seen here (8.2 MB download). The ICM 2018 welcome video can be viewed on the official congress YouTube channel.

U.S. Events at ICM 2018
The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, in collaboration with the Simons Foundation, will organize two U.S. events at ICM 2018. The U.S. reception recognizes the current and incoming IMU Executive Committee; ICM organizers; plenary speakers from the U.S. and the host country; ICM prize winners and presenters; session speakers from the U.S.; and others. A first-timers breakfast provides an opportunity for early career U.S. mathematicians (obtained the PhD within the last 5 years) to meet U.S. senior mathematicians associated with the committee and to get an introduction on the role of IMU and USNC/Math. The Simons Foundation is generously providing funding for both events.

Carlos Kenig Proposed as Next IMU President
The Nomination Committee of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) has announced that it is proposing Carlos Kenig (U.S.) for election as the IMU president for the period 2019-2022. The election will take place at the General Assembly in São Paolo, Brazil in 2018.

Report on USNC/IMU Meeting, 2018
The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics met on January 11, 2018 in San Diego, CA during the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM). Topics discussed included the IMU General Assembly and the ICM in Brazil in 2018, the U.S.-sponsored events at ICM 2018, and the possible U.S. bid for ICM 2026.  Marcelo Viana, organizer of ICM 2018, discussed preparations for this summer’s meetings, and Don McClure, Treasurer of the Friends of the IMU (FIMU), explored with the committee possible ways that the USNC and the FIMU might cooperate more closely.  The FIMU was set up to provide a means for interested Americans and American organizations to make tax deductible donations to support IMU programs. More information can be found on the FIMU website,
Possible U.S. Bid for ICM 2026
Bids for international meetings are organized and submitted years in advance. The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics is currently pursuing serious discussions with U.S. mathematical societies, mathematics institutes, and potential funders a possible U.S. bid for ICM 2026. This would give the United States a chance to showcase mathematics in this country, and improve visibility and outreach. It would serve as a draw for mathematicians in nearby countries. Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Boston are possible locations. 

The financial expectations of hosting country are considerable, usually costing $5-6 million to host, so fundraising will be the biggest challenge. Among other things, the host country is expected to raise travel funds, and waive the registration fees for developing countries. The estimated spending for ICM 2014 in Korea was $4 million for the ICM itself, and $1.5 million for travel awards for mathematicians from developing countries. The Korean organizers secured $3 million from the Korean government, $1.5 million through project fundraising and $1 million from registration fees. 
If the U.S. does decide to move forward, a proposal will need to be prepared by 2021.

IMU Committee on Women in Mathematics (CWM)
The IMU's Committee for Women in Mathematics was formed in March 2015 and held its first meeting six months later. Attendees presented findings on women in mathematics from all over the world, and agreed that the CWM's main priority until the ICM 2018 should be to assist developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia in establishing professional networks. As a result of this meeting, the CWM invites annual project proposals for events and activities. Priority is typically given to proposals from developing or emerging countries. More information about current, past, and future opportunities can be found on the CWM Sponsored Events webpage.
CWM will host a satellite event during ICM 2018 (WM)²: World Meeting for Women in Mathematics will be held July 31, 2018 at the Riocentro Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro. Organizers state, “The (WM)² will bring together mathematicians from all over the world to think about and discuss gender issues in mathematics with a strong focus on Latin America.  Its program includes research talks, group discussions about gender issues in mathematics, a panel discussion and poster presentation. There will also be a tribute to Maryam Mirzakhani.”
USNC-Sponsored Event at JMM 2017
The USNC/Mathematics organized a well-attended event, “International Mathematics Efforts and the IMU”, at the JMM on the evening of January 5, 2017. It began with a 30-minute panel discussion in which Eric Friedlander (USNC chair), Ingrid Daubechies, Wilfrid Gangbo, and Ken Ono discussed the IMU, its priorities, and ways for mathematicians to become involved. The IMU’s Volunteer Lecture Program and the digital library were highlighted. Wilfrid Gangbo spoke about his recent experience as a lecturer in Benin. Ken Ono, who had served as the mathematics consultant on the movie, The Man Who Knew Infinity, introduced the film that portrays the life and work of Indian mathematician Srinivasa RamanujanKen pointed out that contacts, such as between Ramanujan and Cambridge University professor G. H. Hardy and between IMU Volunteer Math Lecturers and students in developing countries, can have long-lasting impact.  

2017 USNC/Mathematics Meetings
January 2017
The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics met in Atlanta, GA during the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) on Friday, January 6, 2017. Participants included Eric Friedlander (chair), David Eisenbud, Wilfrid Gangbo, Ken Ono, Ingrid Daubechies, Roger Howe, Angel Pineda, Carol Wood, Kathie Bailey, and David Bressoud. Major topics discussed included the U.S. reception and first-timers breakfast at ICM 2018; a possible panel presentation at JMM 2018 featuring ICM 2018; a possible U.S. bid for ICM 2026; textbooks for developing countries; and IMU and USNC nominations.
May 2017
The USNC/Mathematics held a conference call on May 11, 2017. Participants included Eric Friedlander (Chair), Georgia Benkart, Wilfrid Gangbo, Andrei Okoukov, Ken Ono, Angel Pineda, Tatiana Toro, and Kathie Bailey. Topics included progress reports on USNC events at JMM 2018 and ICM 2018, as well as a progress report on the possible U.S. bid for ICM 2026.

2014 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) 
ICM 2014Logo copied from
ICM 2014 was held August 13-21, 2014 in Seoul, Korea. The USNC/Math hosted two events at ICM 2014. A welcoming breakfast, on August 14, was held for U.S. early career mathematicians. The USNC/Math then hosted a U.S. reception on August 18. Both events were made possible through the support of the Simons Foundation. 
USNC/Math member Georgia Benkart gave the Emmy Noether Lecture.
A highlight of every ICM is the announcement of prize winners at the opening ceremony. In 2014, this occurred on August 13, when the President of Korea, Park Geun-hye, gave the opening address and presented the IMU awards. The 2014 IMU prize winners from the United States were:
  • The Fields Medalists included Manjul Bhargava (NAS), from Princeton University, and Maryam Mirzakhani, from Stanford University. Dr. Mirzakhani is the first woman to be awarded the prize, which was established in 1936. The Fields Medal is awarded to mathematicians who accomplish a remarkable achievement and are under the age of 40.
  • The Nevanlinna Prize Winner was Subhash Khot of New York University. The prize was established in 1981, in honor of the Finnish mathematician Rolf Nevanlinna, and is also targeted at younger mathematicians.
  • The Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize Winner was Stanley Osher (NAS) of the University of California, Los Angeles. The Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize for Applications of Mathematics is granted for outstanding mathematical contributions, that have found significant applications outside of mathematics.
  • The Chern Medalist was Phillip Griffiths (NAS), from the Institute for Advanced Study, a former member of the USNC/Math. The award is granted to an individual whose accomplishments warrant the highest level of recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of mathematics. One component of this award is $250,000 to be given to the organization of the award winner's choice. Dr. Griffiths has chosen to give this award to the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI), a long-time collaborator of the USNC/Math.
For more details on these prizes and the prize winners, please consult the Seoul ICM 2014 awards webpage

2014 IMU General Assembly
The IMU General Assembly took place August 10 to 11, 2014 in Gyeongju, Korea. The General Assembly consisted of delegates appointed by the Adhering Organizations, together with the members of the Executive Committee. The U.S. delegates to the 2014 IMU General Assembly were: USNC/Math chair Peter March, Georgia Benkart, Hee Oh, Jill Pipher, and Carol Wood.


The following individuals were among those elected:
  • Vice-President: Vaughan Jones; Vanderbilt University
  • Executive Committee Member: Benedict Gross; Harvard University
  • Past President: Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University

IMU International Webpage

Contact the USNC/Math

Kathie Bailey, Director
Pam Gamble, Administrative Associate


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number PHY-1441995. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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