The Seventh European Congress of Mathematics has concluded in Berlin, Germany, during the period 18–22 July 2016. With over 1200 participants this quadrennial event is the largest gathering of mathematicians in Europe. The Congress, sponsored by the European Mathematical Society, lasted five days, with two days preceeding reserved for meetings of the EMS governing Council. Additional sponsors included the:
- German Mathematical Society (mostly in German)
- International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics
- Research Center Matheon
- Einstein Center for Mathematics Berlin
- Berlin Mathematical School
- Technical University of Berlin, host of the event.
The setting for the meeting of the Council was the Senate Chamber of Humboldt University on the beautiful Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte district of the former East Berlin, and for the Congress, the Main Building of the Technical University of Berlin in the Charlottenburg district in the former West Berlin. This latter venue has a complement of meeting rooms of differing sizes to accommodate the various lectures, mini-symposia, and award ceremonies.
President of the EMS Pavel Exner, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Charles University in Prague opened both events. Also participating was immediate Past President of the EMS Marta Sanz-Solé, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Barcelona. Prof. Sanz-Solé is personally well known to me owing to our joint connections to the Centre of Mathematics for Applications, resident at the Department of Mathematics, University of Oslo, in the period 2003–2013. She is the one who inspired me to join the EMS and to become involved in its activities, much to my personal benefit. For this I owe her a sincere debt of gratitude.
The Council is composed of 24 members (of which I am one) representing the individual members of the Society and another 60 or so representatives of institutional members (principally universities and research facilities.) About 80 Council members were present for the meetings. The Council has an Executive Committee consisting of the President, two Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and five Members elected at large. The EMS has various standing committees, all active, which provide valuable advice to the Council and Executive Committee.
The whole governance establishment runs very smoothly and effectively. The committees do meaningful work and are not marginalized or trivialized, as they can be in some societies. This sense of pulling together is all the more remarkable considering that most persons on the Council are important in their own domains and therefore are not accustomed to playing subservient rank-and-file team roles.
Council business included reports on the activities of the EMS Publishing House. President Exner is ex officio Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Publishing House. Immediate Past President Sans-Solé remains on the Board. Prof. of Mathematics Volker Mehrmann of the host institution received plaudits from the Council for his articulate stewardship as Chairman of the Organizing Committee for 7ECM. The Council selected Portorož, Slovenia, as the host city for 8ECM in the summer of 2020.
Twelve prizes were awarded during the Opening Ceremony, ten EMS Prizes to young mathematicians, plus the Felix Klein Prize for “an outstanding solution, which meets with the complete satisfaction of industry, to a concrete and difficult industrial problem,” and the Otto Neugebauer Prize in the History of Mathematics. Information on the prize winners appears here: 7ECM prize winners. A list of speakers appears here: Speakers.
Needless to say, the lectures and talks were uniformly at the highest level, with many leading personages from all branches of mathematics and leaders of important research institutions in attendance.
Further complementing the Congress was an extensive poster gallery of members’ recent results and an exhibitor room which featured booths by many of the member societies and publishing houses, such as the American Mathematical Society and Springer Verlag. The EMS, too, had a booth, with displays of its Publishing House.