Dr. Roberto Markarian - IMERL roma en fing.edu.uy
Vie Nov 29 17:56:07 UYST 2013


As students we are taught the importance of rigour and precise proofs
in mathematics, and those of us who are now teaching mathematics try
to transmit this to the next generation. Providing detailed assessment
of written work is an important part of this process; this task can be
time consuming and requires considerable care and attention, but it is
a somewhat easier one in mathematics than in most other sciences or in
the humanities, since an answer to a mathematical question is more
clearly either correct or not. I have actually noticed that the fact
that evaluations were « fair » is frequently mentioned when
mathematicians remember what made them then prefer mathematics to
other subjects in high school.

This commitment to rigorous and fair assessment resurfaces in various
ways in academic life. For example, mathematicians themselves prefer
to be the ones who make editorial decisions in our main journals. This
contrasts with some other scientific disciplines whose major journals,
including Science and Nature, employ professional editors rather than
relying on the editorial judgement of active scientists.

Interdisciplinary panels tasked with evaluating the scientific output
of individuals are a common feature of today's academic world.
Usually, if not always, mathematicians who sit on such panels have the
impression that the evaluation criteria come from a foreign planet.
Arbitrarily defined bibliometric indexes and impact factors often seem
to virtually automatically govern important decisions, which, in many
cases, decide allocation of large sums of money. Furthermore, the
members of evaluating panels can have very limited understanding (to
say the least) of the actual work that they are evaluating. All this
seems in total contradiction with the foundations of our conception of
science, and can indeed have devastating direct repercussions on the
science produced (since meeting the criteria of these artificial
evaluation rules would become the main goal to achieve, instead of the
intrinsic quality and originality of the research output).

While evaluation is in general a sensitive subject and a difficult
task (a complete consensual guide on « how to evaluate » would
probably be impossible to produce), it is important to remain firm on
the basic principles, particularly that it is neither fair nor
efficient to evaluate something that one does not understand. It is
therefore essential that we continue to resist pressure from governing
bodies, universities and other institutions that try to implement
semi-automatized evaluation procedures.

IMU plans to release soon a short statement stressing these basic
principles. I hope that this will be a useful tool for all of us who
have to plead this cause.

Wendelin Werner
Member at large of the Executive Committee of IMU


2. SEOUL ICM 2014

The next International Congress of Mathematicians will take place at
COEX in Seoul, Korea, from Wednesday August 13, through Thursday
August 21, 2014. The pre-registration process for the ICM 2014 is
under way. If you have not yet pre-registered, please do so by
following the simple instructions at the homepage:
http://www.icm2014.org. We strongly recommend that you visit the
homepage regularly for updated information and ICM related activities.
Information will also be sent to pre-registered participants by means
of occasional e-mail messages, reminding deadlines or reporting
relevant developments.

Here are some important deadlines:
Proposals for satellite activities: until December 31, 2013
Registration at a reduced rate: from January 1 to May 10, 2014
Submission of abstracts for contributions: from January 1 to February 28, 2014

Notice the following important information:
The Satellite Conferences are listed at
The detailed information about the ICM 2014 signature travel grant
program is available at

NANUM 2014: 3,608 Applications Received
1,000 mathematicians from developing countries will be invited to
Korea during ICM 2014 under the ICM 2014 signature travel grant
program, called ?NANUM 2014?. NANUM means ?generoussharing? in
Korean. By October 31, 2013, 3,608 NANUM applications were received.
The on line submission system was deactivated on August 31, 2013.
However, by popular demand, the submission site re-opened on October
16, 2013 and closed on October 31, 2013. Now, we are in the process of
selecting 1,000 grantees. Reviewing applications will be completed in
December, 2013 and an announcement of successful applicants will be in
January, 2014. We hope that NANUM may give the opportunity to the
people from developing countries to participate in the ICM 2014.
Important dates:
Dec. 31, 2013: Review of Applications completed
Jan. 2014: Notification of acceptance

The Korean Legislature?s Resolution on Supporting SEOUL ICM 2014
At a plenary meeting on November 15, 2013, the National Assembly (i.e.
Korean Legislature) of the Republic of Korea overwhelmingly adopted a
resolution on supporting SEOUL ICM 2014. The resolution states the

The Korean National Assembly is dedicated to supporting ?SEOUL ICM
2014? to hold a successful congress, will make special efforts to
encourage every citizen in all fields, including government,
business/industry, press and academia, to participate in and to have
interest in the ICM, is aware that the development and the
popularization of fundamental science including mathematics is
significant to the national competitiveness, and urges the government
to provide full support for ?SEOUL ICM 2014?.

ICM Invited Plenary, Sectional, and Special Lectures
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee is delighted to announce the full
list of the plenary speakers and sectional invited speakers of Seoul
ICM. For the list of confirmed speakers, visit
http://icm2014.org/en/program/scientific. Plenary lectures are invited
one-hour lectures to be held without other parallel activities.
Sectional lectures are invited 45-minute lectures, several of which
are scheduled in parallel.

ICM Local Programs
This section gathers other scientific activities mostly promoted or
organized by the ICM 2014 Organizing Committee.
The following ICM local programs are already scheduled as of Sep. 31, 2013:
The Public Lecture for a general audience by James Simons, President
of Euclidean Capital and Board Chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC,
on Aug. 13, 2014,
The Abel Lecture by John Milnor on Aug. 15, 2014,
The Panels on the risks of assessment and comparisons in mathematical
education, mathematics teaching, and mathematical publicity during
Aug. 18-20, 2014.

ICM Event: Call for Application (e.g. meeting and/or reception)
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee welcomes any organization that
wishes to plan an event in and around the congress (e.g. meeting
and/or reception). Any of the events can be staged at COEX (congress
venue) and/or COEX Intercontinental Hotel (350m from COEX) and
applications can be submitted to the appointed PCO of the congress,
MECI, via email at icm2014 en meci.co.kr. Once submitted, subsequent
price quotes will be issued for applicant?s review. Please return the
completed application forms no later than Feb. 28, 2014.

ICM Sponsorship
Several institutions have already committed their contribution to ICM
2014, especially for NANUM 2014 program. Any organizations willing to
support this important event is invited to contact the Secretariat at
icm en icm2014.org.

ICM Exhibition: Call for Application
The ICM 2014 Organizing Committee invites organizations and colleagues
to submit an application for exhibition booths. The ICM 2014
Exhibition is open to any organization, which may seek an opportunity
to promote one?s experience, programs, products and services through
operating commercial and/or non-commercial booths at the congress. The
exhibition will take place in Hall C1 (3F), COEX and the allotment of
booths will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications for an
exhibition space should be submitted to the appointed PCO of the
congress, MECI, via email at es en icm2014.org by May 31, 2014. For more
details, refer to the Exhibition Prospectus at

We look forward to welcoming you at the congress in Seoul, Korea.

Hyungju Park
Chairman, ICM 2014 Organizing Committee

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