Brazil has secured its place in the list of host countries of the world’s most important and traditional gathering of mathematics, the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) 2018. From the 1st to the 9th of August, Brazil will welcome – for the first time – researchers from five continents to share outstanding work done in the field of math and discuss priority topics for the progress and increased visibility of such a fundamental area of knowledge.
In addition to scientific exchange, the most notable and promising mathematicians on the planet are acknowledged at ICM. The highest honor in mathematics, the Fields Medal, is awarded at the event, as are other outstanding prizes such as Nevanlinna, Gauss, Chern and Leelavati.
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The ICM first took place in 1897 in Zurich, Switzerland, and until now, had never been hosted in the southern hemisphere. It is held every four years by the host country under the auspices of the International Mathematical Union. It has only been suspended during periods of global conflicts. In 2018, the event forms part of the Brazilian Biennium of Mathematics 2017-2018, which includes a series of national and international initiatives geared towards, among other objectives, encouraging the study of math, popularizing it and promoting activities that bring audiences in closer contact with the academic discipline.
A wide and varied scientific program will unfold over 9 nine days, with around 1,200 activities to include lectures, panel discussions, and short poster presentations and communications. Almost 40 scientific satellite events will be held in the country alongside the ICM, among them the first ever World Meeting for Women in Mathematics, (WM)2, on July 31st, which will discuss research and gender issues in mathematics.
“Hosting ICM 2018 is a great honor for the Brazilian mathematics community. We believe that it also pays tribute to the progress attained in so little time by a developing country where mathematics research is only around six decades old,” said Marcelo Viana, chairman of the ICM 2018’s Organizing Committee. The Director of IMPA (Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics) referred to Brazil’s accession Group 5 of the IMU, formed by 11 countries that are considered the elite of mathematical research.
Popularization of math and students award
Besides the academic focus, ICM 2018 has many activities that include a wider public. The ‘IMPA-Serrapilheira’ popularization of mathematics cycle includes five public lectures with prominent mathematicians and vocal math advocates, including 2010 Fields Medal winner Cédric Villani; award-winning Belgian Ingrid Daubechies (Duke University), known for her groundbreaking math applications in the field of modern communications; and Portuguese Rogério Martins (University of Lisbon), creator and presenter of the TV program ‘Isto é Matemática’ (This is Mathematics).
576 talented school children will also receive gold medals during ICM, for their performance in OBMEP (Brazilian Mathematics Olympiad of Public Schools), the world’s biggest school competition. Created and applied annually by IMPA since 2005, with support from the Brazilian Society of Mathematics (SBM), the event tested the mathematical proficiency 18,2 million students from public and private institutions in 2017.