The Olympics of mathematics, the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), will be held in Korea from August 13 to 21, in various locations including COEX.
Held every four years, ICM is a celebration of mathematicians from around the world, with lectures, discussions, reviews, and award ceremonies rewarding achievements for the past four years, from mathematicians of various disciplines.
The first ICM was held in Zurich, Switzerland. Seventeen countries including France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States have played host to twenty-six versions of the event. Japan, China, and India previously hosted, and Korea became the fourth Asian country to play host to the ICM in 2009, when it was selected as the sole country host by the eleven member committee in Fúzhōu, China.
The upcoming Seoul ICM 2014 will be host to 5,000 mathematicians from 100 different countries. It is expected to be the biggest ICM event ever.
During the event, various awards will be given, including the most honorable award in mathematics, the Fields Medal, which is called the Nobel Prize of mathematics. The President of Korea will be on hand to present the Fields Medal, as has been the custom throughout ICM’s history since the passing of Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields.
The ICM event will consist of 21 primary lectures and 193 guest lectures in 19 disciplines. In addition, in each discipline, general lectures by 1,000 participants will be conducted. Poster sessions will be held as well, and awards will be given.
The ICM organizing committee expressed hope that the event will unite the nation’s network of mathematicians and enhance research and development of local mathematics academia. Head of the organizing committee Park Hyung-ju, professor of mathematics at Postech, said, “China was not ranked in the top ten, but became the second placed-country after the US, (in mathematics) after hosting the 2002 event.” He then added, “This is a chance for Korea to take advantage of the event, and use it as a stepping stone to developing the area of traditional mathematics research discipline.”