Seoul to host global math meet

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jan 14, 2014 - 19:57
  • Updated : Jan 14, 2014 - 19:57
Park Hyung-ju, chairman of Seoul ICM 2014 Organizing Committee
Seoul is to host the 27th International Congress of Mathematicians, the largest gathering of mathematicians in the world, in August.

The ICM will recognize important accomplishments in the field made over the past four years and serve as a venue for discussions and lectures.

Park Hyung-ju, chairman of the Seoul ICM 2014 Organizing Committee, said Tuesday that he hopes the event will boost the public’s interest in the field.

“People should know that knowing math can help you do many things,” Park said, pointing out that math is even used in criminology and sports. “We hope to let children know math is among the fields that they can pursue in the future.”

Jim Simons, a U.S. mathematician and the founder of Renaissance Technologies, will hold a public lecture open to non-experts and students. Twenty-one keynote speeches and 193 lectures will take place at the event.

Some 1,000 mathematicians from developing countries were invited to attend, which organizers say was to convey the message that “late starters” can persevere and succeed.

The event is often dubbed the “Olympics of math,” in a sense that it is held once every four years and awards the Fields Medal, the top honor a mathematician not older than age 40 can receive. The leader of the host country is to deliver the award during the opening ceremony of the nine-day congress.

Of the 52 recipients of the prestigious award, 13 have been from the United States, 12 from France and seven from Britain. No South Korean has received the award yet.

Park said while the chance of a South Korean receiving the award this year is slim, the event will be a stepping stone for its mathematicians.

“Young Korean mathematicians will get a chance to make their debut on the world stage through this event. They’ll also get more chances to conduct co-studies with world-renowned scholars,” he said.

This year will mark the fourth time the ICM is hosted in an Asian country, after Japan, China and India.

By Yoon Min-sik (