# News of potential interest to the MO community

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.

• 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 Mod
Jul 15, 2017 at 23:19
• @StefanKohl: By all means add news that is more positive, if appropriate. I left the question deliberately open ended. Jul 16, 2017 at 4:42
• 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 Mod
Jul 17, 2017 at 19:46
• 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 Mod
Feb 7, 2018 at 12:57
• @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 Mod
May 20, 2018 at 23:17
• @Asaf of course you would know :-) but it makes a change from "so-and-so died :-(..."
– David Roberts Mod
May 22, 2018 at 1:13
• @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. Sep 24, 2018 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. Sep 24, 2018 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 Mod
Sep 24, 2018 at 17:35
• @Lucia (and is there a way to ping the mods?) is there a way to set the default answer sorting for this thread to newest first?
– none
Apr 12, 2020 at 9:41
• @AsafKaragila what does CW mean on meta? Jul 8, 2020 at 1:27
• @FrançoisG.Dorais: More users can edit answers with relevant information.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Jul 8, 2020 at 7:24
• @StefanKohl: I removed your edit, since I don't see its relevance to the question. I get the sense that you don't like the question or the answers, and that is certainly your prerogative. But it doesn't seem correct to me that the question should be edited with a comment aimed at discouraging answers. Aug 5, 2020 at 15:31
• @StefanKohl: Thanks for your response! I'd prefer the question as it is. Of course as it is CommunityWiki, everyone has an equal right to edit it, and I don't insist upon my view. Aug 5, 2020 at 21:20
• @GerryMyerson: Done, though this leaves me intensely curious about why you can't post answers on meta. Dec 24, 2020 at 0:35

• Can one upvote news like this -- or is there a risk that the meaning of an upvote here is misunderstood?
– Stefan Kohl Mod
Feb 20, 2017 at 21:04
• 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. Feb 20, 2017 at 21:16
• 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. Feb 22, 2017 at 3:51
• My upvote here is a show of respect to IG. Feb 26, 2017 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.

The American Mathematical Society (https://www.ams.org/news?news_id=6987), the London Mathematical Society (https://www.lms.ac.uk/node/1848), and the Société mathématique de France (https://smf.emath.fr/actualites-smf/23-02-22-icm-en-russie), and possibly other math societies around the world, have called for the 2022 ICM to not be held in St. Petersburg, in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

EDIT 2: Probably everyone has already seen this on the MO frontpage, but it is now official, the 2022 ICM will take place entirely online, at the same time as originally scheduled: https://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/IMU/ICM2022/ICM_2022_statement.pdf

As nobody mentioned this here so far -- since last month (January 2021), zbMATH is completely open access.

Spectacular Olympic victory in cycling by EPFL postdoc Anna Kiesenhofer

• I have also mentioned this at the "non-math achievements by mathematicians" thread. Jul 25, 2021 at 13:20
• deeply impressive; here is a (translated) commentary by our national news paper: The Dutch women grossly underestimated Anna Kiesenhofer from the hamlet of Kreusztetten. She should never have been given eleven minutes in the game of her life. Asked for tips for young riders, the brand new champion inadvertently sent a message to the Dutch team: "Don't trust anyone blindly." That's how she had come here. Jul 25, 2021 at 13:55
• Wow!! Thanks for that answer! Jul 25, 2021 at 14:02

John Conway passed away on April 11, 2020, at age 82: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Horton_Conway

• Yes, I just heard the sad news too. Thanks for adding this. Apr 11, 2020 at 16:56
• Not disputing this account, but it is worth noting that someone has edited the wikipedia page to remove the death notice (presumably pending verification) Apr 11, 2020 at 17:34
• @YemonChoi: I heard this before seeing it on wikipedia, from a very reliable source. Apr 11, 2020 at 17:39
• @Lucia Sure, I just meant that Sam's link should be replaced/updated for now, otherwise people will click on it and potentially be confused Apr 11, 2020 at 17:58
• There is a short note on the talk page of that Wikipedia article. Apr 11, 2020 at 19:49
• More detailed confirmation: twitter.com/CardColm/status/1249088354857226242 💔 Apr 11, 2020 at 21:58
• "From 5 of his close associates" twitter.com/CardColm/status/1249082119567138819?s=20,
– David Roberts Mod
Apr 12, 2020 at 0:30
• Article in Mercer Daily Voice, a New Jersey newspaper: dailyvoice.com/new-jersey/mercer/obituaries/… If you speak Dutch, there's nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/04/12/… In German, golem.de/news/… Apr 12, 2020 at 23:39
• In Spanish, unocero.com/ciencia/muere-matematico-john-conway-covid-19 And in Turkish, halktv.com.tr/bilim-ve-teknoloji/… Apr 12, 2020 at 23:43
• From Princeton University's news site: princeton.edu/news/2020/04/14/… and from the New York Times (paywall), nytimes.com/2020/04/15/technology/… Apr 16, 2020 at 9:20
• At that August 2022 the journal Notices of the American Mathematics Society Vol. 69, No. 7 published the articles Conway’s Mathematics After Conway (pages 1145-1155) and John Horton Conway (1937–2020) (MEMORIAL TRIBUTE, pages 1171-1187). I add the articles if some user wants to know these articles. Aug 18, 2022 at 12:06

Alan Turing will appear on the Bank of England's new $${\large\unicode{xA3}} 50$$ note -- with a photo, a quote, and some lines from his 1936 paper in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society: "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem."

Not an obituary, but not good news either.

There seem to be an effort to eliminate pure mathematics from the University of Leicester. Anyone who is interested in signing a petition to try and raise awareness of how severe of a mistake this may be can do so here:

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/mathematics-is-not-redundant

The ironic part is that the proposed change is under a restructuring effort named "Shaping for Excellence". Please help to spread the word.

• I'm not sure why the downvote. This isn't the first time these sort of petitions are posted on MO. I just didn't feel that it merits a separate thread.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Jan 30, 2021 at 17:45
• Seems a good point to raise here. Thanks for adding this. Jan 30, 2021 at 18:05
• This is doubly dispiriting/appalling given that the university had tried something similar back in 2016... Jan 30, 2021 at 20:32
• @Yemon: That is terrible.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Jan 30, 2021 at 20:32

Atiyah passed away on Friday (11th Jan), confirmed by Oxford Maths dept, the Royal Society and an obit in the NYT.

• Thanks for posting. That's sad to hear. Jan 12, 2019 at 5:03

Mark Sapir died on October 8, 2022. He was a long-term MO contributor.

Obituary notice at Vanderbilt's site

• Long-term user whose contributions remain after he left, now attributed to 'user6976'.
– David Roberts Mod
Oct 11, 2022 at 7:30
• It seems that Professor Sapir also posted under markvs. Oct 11, 2022 at 7:39
• correct me if I'm wrong, but the switch to "user6976" happened because the account was deleted by the user, not because the user passed away. Jan 7 at 15:28

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.

• 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. Aug 1, 2018 at 16:26
• Masaki Kashiwara for Chern prize. Gerhard "Finally Seeing The Laudatio Lectures" Paseman, 2018.08.01. Aug 1, 2018 at 20:00
• Ali Nesin for Leelavati. Gerhard "That's The List For Today" Paseman, 2018.08.01. Aug 1, 2018 at 20:21

The recipients of the 2022 Fields medals were announced (in this order) at ICM 2022:

• Hugo Duminil-Copin
• June Huh
• James Maynard
• Maryna Viazovska

The Ladyzhenskaya medal was awarded to Svetlana Jitomirskaya, the Abacus medal was awarded to Mark Braverman, the Gauss prize to Elliott H. Lieb, the Chern medal to Barry Mazur, and the Leelavati prize to Nikolai Andreev.

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.

• 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"? May 21, 2018 at 16:23
• Here's a possible answer. May 23, 2018 at 6:45

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 :'( Feb 7, 2018 at 22:11

Jim Humphreys has passed away. This was confirmed by Paul Gunnells https://people.math.umass.edu/~gunnells/ and is implied by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_E._Humphreys

The American Mathematical Society now has a streamlined process for mathematicians who have changed their names and who wish to update their papers published under the old name to be listed under the new one.

https://www.ams.org/publications/journals/policies/authornamechanges

Maria Yakerson has asked me to post the following announcement, since it could be interesting for the MO community

Dear all,

I would like to announce the YouTube channel "Math-life balance", where I am posting my online-interviews with mathematicians:

In these non-professional interviews I ask our colleagues about their personal experience in math, about different aspects of mathematician's job, about their struggles and lifehacks. I imagine, it could be useful for our community, especially for young mathematicians. While we discuss serious matters, there's a lot of laughter and storytelling involved, so I hope that would be a new source of joy during lockdown time!

I plan to post videos on Fridays at 6 pm CET. The first interview, with Inna Zakharevich (Cornell University), is already available today. The second interview, with Hélène Esnault (Freie Universität Berlin), will be available next Friday. The updates to the schedule of interviews will appear here:

https://www.muramatik.com/math-life-balance/

A side-note: I've turned off comments on the channel in order to avoid inappropriate comments from spammers, often appearing on Youtube (and I can't moderate a discussion elsewhere myself, sorry!). In case you have comments, critics or encouragement for me, feel free to send me an email!

All the best, Mura Yakerson

• Some good news for once! Thanks for putting this here.
– David Roberts Mod
Jan 23, 2021 at 3:37
• Just came to this thread to post this. I've really enjoyed these interviews and learned a lot. Mar 6, 2021 at 23:30

Vaughan Jones has passed away at the age of 67. I think others on MO may be better placed than me [YC] to comment on the depth and impact of his work on subfactors and his introduction of what became known as the Jones polynomial in knot theory.

Link to article in New Zealand Herald

• I was sorry to hear that. The Wikipedia page does mention this, but the exact date seems unclear as you say. Sep 8, 2020 at 15:30

I am very sad to report that Joël Bellaïche, a long-term contributor to MO, passed away on Monday, 30 May 2022.

• That's very sad news. Jun 4, 2022 at 21:41

Jacques Tits died on December 5, 2021, aged 91.

He won the Abel prize in 2008 "For his profound achievements in algebra and in particular for shaping modern group theory."

I might be behind the times here, but there is a Quanta article giving some history behind Freedman's classification of topological 4-manifolds and reporting on the new book The Disc Embedding Theorem by Behrens–Kalmar–Kim–Teichner–Ray which sets out a complete proof. It makes interesting reading for those of us who are concerned about the evanescent nature of mathematical knowledge if left unattended.

Passing reference is made to the 2012 MO post Independent evidence for the classification of topological 4-manifolds?

(It is possible that this answer duplicates some other reference to the 5-person book, in which case I am happy for this to be deleted and merged into that other answer.)

• Such a well-written article on a difficult-to-explain topic! Sep 17, 2021 at 20:37

There is now a plaque in Paris (between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon) to commemorate the first meeting of Bourbaki (10 December 1934) at their local Burger King!

• Just to be clear, I don't think Bourbaki met at a Burger King, I think a Burger King was opened, many years later, next to the site of the Bourbaki meeting. Sep 17, 2021 at 23:48
• @GerryMyerson: I wondered if anyone would really think that, but I'm surprised that you should raise it! I think the Burger King occupies abstractly the same space that Bourbaki concretized. (See the plaque; and Bourbaki concretizing something is a nice joke in itself.) Sep 18, 2021 at 1:04
• I never shrink from stating the obvious, Lucia. Sep 18, 2021 at 7:23
• Fun false fact: the name Bourbaki comes from a mispronunciation of Burger King, the place where they first met in 1934. Sep 18, 2021 at 20:12
• @FedericoPoloni: I was sent this with a fantastic caption to the photo: BourbaKing! Sep 18, 2021 at 21:08
• A Starbucks would have been a happier compromise between mathematics and American fast food. Dec 8, 2021 at 13:56

Yuri Manin passed away on January 7, 2023.

• Obituary by the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics. Jan 9 at 5:41

Robin Chapman was a valued contributor to MathOverflow in its early years. He passed away, unexpectedly, on 18 October 2020. An obituary can be found at the website of the Math Department at the University of Exeter.

Thanks to Gerry Myerson for letting us know.

• He solved an amazing number of the problems posed in the American Mathematical Monthly---quite a talent. Dec 24, 2020 at 23:23

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.

There is an "Open Letter on K-12 Mathematics" signed by some 750 people in the past two days, including various MathOverflow users (and two users with top-ten reputations). The letter focuses on math in public schools, especially in California, and the issues include:

• Should schools teach algebra before high school?
• Should schools emphasize or offer rigorous calculus vs less rigorous data science classes in high school?
• In what grade should students be split into different math classes, vs one class for the whole grade?
• How can the curriculum help students from diverse backgrounds acquire useful mathematical skills?

For background on the California Mathematics Framework at issue, I found some stories in EdSource and CalMatters helpful. Meanwhile two of the letter-organizers argue their case in a recent guest post on Scott Aaronson's blog.

• This seems to me to be of interest limited to one given country.
– YCor
Dec 7, 2021 at 18:50
• I don't know, it might be of international interest, if only addressed to an international audience, which I believe is currently not (neither the post, nor the linked page).
– YCor
Dec 7, 2021 at 19:54
• As with everything else on MO, one need not expect that any question or answer would be of interest to everyone. Dec 7, 2021 at 21:00
• @YCor, I edited in hopes of interesting more people. Dec 7, 2021 at 21:40
• @MattF. thanks, I appreciate it.
– YCor
Dec 7, 2021 at 21:41
• California gave us right turn on red light. Dec 7, 2021 at 22:56
• @GerryMyerson: surely not in Australia? Dec 7, 2021 at 23:00
• @Lucia, correct, we don't even have left turn on red yet. Dec 7, 2021 at 23:01
• @Gerry: I didn't know that Australia had cars. I thought everything is done via Cessna or helicopters.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Dec 7, 2021 at 23:57
• @Asaf, I usually just hop on a kangaroo to get around, but we still have to obey the road rules. Dec 8, 2021 at 0:16

Jamie Haddock (Harvey Mudd), David Jekel (UCSD) and Christelle Vincent (U Vermont) are organizing an effort to reimburse early career mathematicians who lost funds to non-reimbursable travel expenses due to the cancellation of the JMM. Fill out this poll to be considered for support; contact davidjekel@gmail.com to contribute time or money.

I am not involved in organizing this effort, but am simply spreading the word. Relevant Twitter thread.

• JMM is the 2022 Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) originally scheduled to be held in Seattle, January 5-8. jointmathematicsmeetings.org//jmm Feb 25, 2022 at 15:37

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.

https://journee-neveu.sciencesconf.org/