Occasionally, there has been a suggestion to start a meta question to collect information that might be of interest to the MO community. This is an attempt to start such a thread.

Is there any news that you think would be of wide interest to the MO community? Please exercise your discretion in any answers, and your judgement on the appropriateness or significance of any event.

  • nice idea but SE meta is not really a good format for this. suggest starting a (community) blog somewhere or twitter acct etc. also try MathOverflow Chat – vzn May 11 '17 at 23:13
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    As of now, four of five answers report someone's death -- is this almost the only type of "News of potential interest to the MO community"? I do not doubt that these reports are of interest, in particular the one of today -- but would it perhaps make sense to adjust the question accordingly, as for several months hardly any other news turned up here? – Stefan Kohl Jul 15 '17 at 23:19
  • @StefanKohl: By all means add news that is more positive, if appropriate. I left the question deliberately open ended. – Lucia Jul 16 '17 at 4:42
  • One can add, eg, the Fields medal winners (+Nevanlinna etc) next year when they are announced. – David Roberts Jul 17 '17 at 5:58
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    I think reporting any important enough result or new development in mathematics would be fine as well, and at least equally interesting as news about who has died or who has got this-or-that award. – Stefan Kohl Jul 17 '17 at 19:46
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    It seems that this is mainly an "Obituaries column", rather than general news. I sure hope there will be some good news posted here sometime soon... – Asaf Karagila Feb 7 at 12:57
  • @Asaf some good news, at last! Also, JDH will be somewhat closer geographically for you, FWIW – David Roberts May 20 at 22:24
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    @David: Having known about this for a few months now, this is not a surprise for me. I also complained that this is not exactly "MO News". I didn't see anyone congratulate me for winning the Newton International Fellowship (nor I expected that to happen, nor I wish it to have happened). I didn't see anyone congratulate any other user on their fancy grants or new positions. Yes, this is a happy news, as opposed to the whole dead people thing. But it's not something that I find as relevant news to the site. As much as I am happy that Joel will be closer now, which I am, let me assure you that. – Asaf Karagila May 20 at 23:17
  • @Asaf of course you would know :-) but it makes a change from "so-and-so died :-(..." – David Roberts May 22 at 1:13
  • @Emilio: Yes, I agree that there is a troubling feeling over the most of this page. – Asaf Karagila Sep 24 at 16:10
  • @AsafKaragila: When I posted this question, I also flagged it myself so that the moderators can assess its suitability and asked them to delete it if they thought fit. By and large, this question and the answers have been uncontroversial -- the answers have been appropriate and respectful, and I see very few downvotes. I'm sure you or others may find something troubling about this -- I don't see it myself. In any case, surely there is room for differing viewpoints on this. – Lucia Sep 24 at 16:14
  • @Asaf Ah. I had deleted my comment after seeing the comments to the first answer. But on second thought I do stand by it: there is something about having voting arrows next to a series of obituaries that makes me deeply uncomfortable. Votes on a single answer are OK, but when there's several and the default sorting is by votes, it's much more complicated. I see the value in a noticeboard with those announcements, but this format has some awful features. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 24 at 16:16
  • @Lucia: I don't think it should be closed or deleted or anything. And I agree that it has some relevance here. Nevertheless, it still feels a bit odd, in part for the reasons that Emilio mentions. – Asaf Karagila Sep 24 at 17:35

11 Answers 11

Igor Shafarevich died on February 19, 2017 in Moscow at the age of 93.

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    Can one upvote news like this -- or is there a risk that the meaning of an upvote here is misunderstood? – Stefan Kohl Feb 20 '17 at 21:04
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    I think one should understand upvotes to news of this type simply as a mark of respect. At least that's how I would take it. – Lucia Feb 20 '17 at 21:16
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    Perhaps if meta had a link called "thanks" instead of just "upvote" Stefan's question wouldn't arise. Though like Lucia, my upvote here is simply also as a mark of respect; additionally, I also view my upvote here as a note of thanks to Lucia for bringing this news to the attention of the MO community. – Suvrit Feb 22 '17 at 3:51
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    My upvote here is a show of respect to IG. – Guido Jorg Feb 26 '17 at 19:18

Maryam Mirzakhani has died of breast cancer. A professor at Stanford University, she was the first female (and first Iranian) recipient of the Fields Medal. She was only 40 years old.

Sadly we just lost another Fields medallist, Vladimir Voevodsky died suddenly.

Alan Baker (1939-2018) died on 4 February 2018. Baker received the Fields medal in 1970 for his work in transcendental number theory.

  • A great pity :'( – Jose Brox Feb 7 at 22:11

Jacques Neveu died on May 15, 2016 at the age of 83. A day in homage to the famous french probabilist will be held on may 23, 2017 at IHP. Registration is free yet mandatory.


journee Jacques Neveu

Congratulations to J.D. Hamkins

Please join us in wishing J.D. Hamkins the best of luck as Professor of Logic in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University, and Sir Peter Strawson Fellow in Philosophy, University College, Oxford. Hopefully he'll continue his contributions to this site.

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    Thank you very much; you are so kind to take notice. Yes, indeed, I expect I shall be carrying on as usual with MathOverflow while in Oxford. Or perhaps I should say, "whilst"? – Joel David Hamkins May 21 at 16:23
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    Here's a possible answer. – user1414 May 23 at 6:45

The 2018 Fields medal winners are Caucher Birkar, Alessio Figalli, Peter Scholze, and Akshay Venkatesh. Brief citations and longer descriptions of their work are available on the IMU website.

Peter Scholze has explained some of the key ideas in his research on MO, most notably in this introductory post.

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    Constantinas Daskalakis (sp?) Is the Nevanlinna prize winner, and David Donoho for Gauss prize. When I get to see the names for Leelavati and Chern winners, I will post them. Gerhard "Sincere Congratulations To Them All" Paseman, 2018.08.01. – Gerhard Paseman Aug 1 at 16:26
  • Masaki Kashiwara for Chern prize. Gerhard "Finally Seeing The Laudatio Lectures" Paseman, 2018.08.01. – Gerhard Paseman Aug 1 at 20:00
  • Ali Nesin for Leelavati. Gerhard "That's The List For Today" Paseman, 2018.08.01. – Gerhard Paseman Aug 1 at 20:21

The following was posted to the Algebraic Topology mailing list by Eric Friedlander:

Andrei Suslin passed away today, July 10 2018 at the age of 67. Andrei has been one of the leading algebraists of the past 50 years, establishing many of the basic theorems in algebraic K-theory, instrumental in the development of motivic theories in algebraic geometry, and a powerful influence in the study of the cohomology of finite group schemes. His mathematics has always been elegant; his attitude has always been one of generosity.

If I am reading this chart from the AAAS correctly, on "Mathematical Sciences in the FY 2016 Budget," the funding for math in the U.S. went down by \$3 million dollars (rounded, without adjusting for inflation) from 2015 to 2016. I would be interested to learn the trend in other countries.

      Math Budget

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    I don't see where you got that figure from, even given your image. – David Roberts Mar 13 '17 at 4:01
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    I think a more important question here is what the net value of the funding actually is -- i.e. after deducting reasonable wages for the time people spend on writing applications for these funds (both successful and unsuccessful ones) -- and how that changes over the years. – Stefan Kohl Mar 18 '17 at 10:26
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    @DavidRoberts: $(235+122+97)-(232+129+96) = -3$. LIkely more accurate than using the rounded numbers in each small category. – Joseph O'Rourke Mar 18 '17 at 11:44
  • @StefanKohl: I take your point, but the estimates you suggest using would be very difficult to calculate---time spent on writing; unsuccessful grants. – Joseph O'Rourke Mar 18 '17 at 12:05
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    Is there any kind of new figures for more recent times? (I hesitate to say "this year") – David Roberts May 21 at 4:23
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    It seems the situation is quite unclear. Here is one article addressing the US 2018 budget: AMS link. – Joseph O'Rourke May 25 at 1:05

"Statement on scientific publications by three national Academies (Academie des sciences, Leopoldina, and Royal Society)"


  • This is interesting, but at least for math journals the recommendations seem mostly superfluous. I would guess that most good journals follow similar practices, and the predatory ones are hardly likely to care. – Lucia May 28 at 3:10
  • @Lucia I'm not saying that the statement is ideal or even that I agree with everything written there (though it is a step in the right direction, IMHO). I'm just saying that it is something I'd like to attract people's attention to. – fedja May 28 at 16:03
  • No complaints from me! – Lucia May 28 at 16:06
  • @Lucia: Why do you think that the recommendations seem superfluous for math journals? -- I don't think they are -- also in mathematics there appear to be more and more journals where the peer-review doesn't work as it should (arbitrary-chosen example), and also in mathematics it happens at times that referee's reports lack professionality (personal attacks on authors and the like). -- What I find objectionable in the statement is though the idea of per-article payments to 'fund' open-access -- it simply doesn't seem realistic to me to make (continued) -- – Stefan Kohl Jun 3 at 16:27
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    (cont.): such payments independent from the decision to accept an article. Also, who would pay possible article processing charges for authors based in low-income countries, or for authors who are not affilitated with an institution? -- In my opinion, it would be best to make scientific publications exempt from copyright altogether (just as any type of documents where the copyright protection serves the only purpose to feed a publisher, and the benefit for the author is typically equal to zero). – Stefan Kohl Jun 3 at 16:34
  • @StefanKohl: The example you linked seems to be from a nonsense journal. As I mentioned in my remark, good journals already follow practices similar to the ones mentioned, and the corrupt (strictly for profit) ones are unlikely to change in any meaningful way. APC's for open access is a complicated issue, but in the journals that I am aware of (or have been involved with), exceptions are always made to anyone who cannot afford them. Also, some countries seem to have negotiated good deals with publishers regarding open access, which may be a different way forward. – Lucia Jun 3 at 17:11
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    @Stefan Kohl "Also, who would pay possible article processing charges for authors based in low-income countries, or for authors who are not affilitated with an institution?" My stance is much stronger: by sharing my knowledge by publishing I do a service to the community, so if somebody should be paid here at all, it is I. I can forfeit the reward, but that's where I draw the line. Arguments like the above sound to me like if the journal publishers asked that authors kiss their asses and the objection is that some people have back/knee problems, so it is hard for them to bend that low or kneel – fedja Jun 3 at 17:28
  • Worth a plug: freejournals.org fairopenaccess.org – David Roberts Jul 15 at 22:38

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