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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.

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 General Assembly and International Congress of Mathematicians, 2018
Every four years, the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) is held under the auspices of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The 2018 meeting took place August 1 – 9, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ( Prior to the quadrennial ICM, the IMU General Assembly meets to oversee and approve actions of the IMU. The most recent IMU General Assembly meeting took place in Sao Paolo, Brazil on July 29 – 30, 2018.  
The U.S. delegation to the IMU General Assembly consisted of Eric Friedlander (Chair), Alice Chang, Kristin Lauter, Ken Ono, and Ken Ribet.
Important actions and decisions at the IMU General Assembly included:
·         Carlos Kenig (University of Chicago) was elected IMU President.  (Columbia University) was elected IMU Member at Large.
·         After extensive discussion, delegates to the IMU GA agreed that the Nevanlinna Prize should be renamed and replaced. This is a major international prize that recognizes outstanding contributions in mathematical aspects of computer and information sciences. The purpose and scope of the new prize will remain the same.
·         The IMU is actively reviewing the structure and organization of future ICM’s. These will still award Fields Medals (Mathematics’ most prestigious awards) as well as the newly constituted Nevanlinna Prize, but the heavy responsibility of organizing the program of each ICM will be shared among committees. One issue of consequence to many mathematicians is the number of invited lectures in each field of mathematics and the identification of new fields.
·         The General Assembly approved the site for ICM 2022. That meeting will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. 
The USNC/Math, in collaboration with the Simons Foundation, organized two U.S. events at ICM 2018. The U.S. reception recognized the current and incoming IMU Executive Committee; ICM organizers; plenary speakers from the U.S. and the host country; ICM prizewinners and presenters; session speakers from the U.S.; and others. The Early Career breakfast provided an opportunity for U.S. mathematicians who have obtained their PhD within the last five years to meet U.S. senior mathematicians associated with the committee and to get an introduction on the role of IMU and USNC/Math.
IMU Committee on Women in Mathematics (CWM)
The IMU's Committee for Women in Mathematics hosts satellite meetings during ICMs. The CWM hosted a satellite event just before the ICM 2018 (WM)²: World Meeting for Women in Mathematics) in Rio de Janeiro. The(WM)² brought together mathematicians from all over the world to think about and discuss gender issues in mathematics with a strong focus on Latin America.  The program included research talks, group discussions about gender issues in mathematics, a panel discussion and poster presentation. It also included a tribute to Maryam Mirzakhani.

More information about current, past, and future opportunities can be found on the CWM Sponsored Events webpage.

USNC Meeting 2019
The U.S. National Committee for Mathematics held a virtual meeting on June 5, 2019. Topics discussed included an update on ICM 2022; the possible U.S. bid for ICM 2026; the need for increased visibility of the IMU in the United States; broadening the reach of the IMU to include more of the interface of mathematics with Statistics and Data Sciences; major prizes in mathematic; and possible events at the JMM in January 2020.

USNC 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,

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” during the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM). Marcelo Viani (IMPA) 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.
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.  

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 1708170. 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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