International Congress of Mathematicians - History - ICMs and The International Mathematical Union

ICMs and The International Mathematical Union

The organizing committees of the early ICMs were formed in large part on an ad hoc basis and there was no single body continuously overseeing the ICMs. Following the end of World War I, the Allied Powers established in 1919 in Brussels the International Research Council (IRC). At the IRC's instructions, in 1920 the Union Mathematique Internationale (UMI) was created. This was the immediate predecessor of the current International Mathematical Union. Under the IRC's pressure, UMI reassigned the 1920 congress from Stockholm to Strasbourg and insisted on the rule which excluded from the congress mathematicians representing the former Central Powers. The exclusion rule, which also applied to the 1924 ICM, turned out to be quite unpopular among mathematicians from the U.S. and Great Britain. The 1924 ICM was originally scheduled to be held in New York, but had to be moved to Toronto after the American Mathematical Society withdrew its invitation to host the congress, in protest against the exclusion rule. As a result of the exclusion rule and the protests it generated, the 1920 and the 1924 ICMs were considerably smaller than the previous ones. In the run-up to the 1928 ICM in Bologna, IRC and UMI still insisted on applying the exclusion rule. In the face of the protests against the exclusion rule and the possibility of a boycott of the congress by the American Mathematical Society and the London Mathematical Society, the congress' organizers decided to hold the 1928 ICM under the auspices of the University of Bologna rather than of the UMI. The 1928 congress and all the subsequent congresses have been open for participation by mathematicians of all countries. The statutes of the UMI expired in 1931 and at the 1932 ICM in Zurich a decision to dissolve the UMI was made, largely in opposition to IRC's pressure on the UMI.

At the 1950 ICM the participants voted to reconstitute the International Mathematical Union (IMU), which was formally established in 1951. Starting with the 1954 congress in Amsterdam, the ICMs are held under the auspices of the IMU.

Read more about this topic:  International Congress Of Mathematicians, History

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