Archive for August 19th, 2010

ICM2010 — more on the opening ceremony

August 19, 2010

Let me try to give a stream-of-consciousness description of the opening ceremony, by which I mean translate the notes I feverishly took into continuous prose and not do much else to them.

I booked my hotel fairly late in the day, for the obvious reason that if I left it longer, the work needed would be identical but I would have less choice. And so it turned out: instead of staying in the hotel right next to the congress (so much so that you can get from one to the other without going out of doors) I am, as I mentioned in my first post, about 40 minutes away. The disadvantages of this are obvious — I can’t nip back to my room to get something, and I have to worry each day about how I’m going to get to and from the hotel. But the hotel itself is nice, and I quite like getting to know the city a bit rather than being cocooned in the conference area the whole time.

This morning they laid on buses to take people from the hotels to the congress (as they will every morning). I had had dire warnings about traffic, and been told to expect a two-hour journey, which would still have been quick enough to get to the opening ceremony on time but would have left me slightly anxious. As it was, the journey took the usual 40 minutes or so, so I got to the HICC at about 8.30. We had been told to be in our seats by 10.30, so I thought I had a couple of hours to kill. However, this turned out to be a miscalculation on my part.

ICM2010 — opening ceremony in brief

August 19, 2010

The laudationes start in half an hour, so all I have time for is a few headlines (though you will almost certainly have these from other sources).

The Fields medals went to Elon Lindenstrauss, Ngô Bảo Châu, Stanislav Smirnov and Cedric Villani. The Nevanlinna prize was awarded to Dan Spielman. The Gauss prize went to Yves Meyer and the Chern medal was given to Louis Nirenberg. The Laudationes for the Fields medals and Nevanlinna prize will be given by Hillel Furstenberg, Jim Arthur, Harry Kesten, Horng-Tzer Yau and Gil Kalai, respectively, and I’m looking forward to them. I’ll admit now that I was on the Fields medal committee — a difficult job, and moreover one that means that there are things that I cannot discuss on this blog (not that in any case I would like to engage publicly in discussions about whether the right decisions were made). What I can say is that the four people who have won Fields medals have spectacular achievements to their names.

Other interesting news was that the next ICM will be in South Korea (in Seoul), that the next IMU president will be Ingrid Daubechies, the first woman to hold the post, and that if you type “ICM” into the IMU web page you can now find every single article that has ever appeared in an ICM proceedings, and that this database is searchable.

I’ll describe the opening ceremony in more detail in my next post. I’ll include a description of what the prizewinners were wearing. (If you look up Cedric Villani in Google images, you’ll see that this is a more interesting question than you might at first think.)

That’s it for the time being.