Posted by: Administrator | 14/10/2010

Angus MacIntyre: Election statement

The LMS is a Learned Society, with a distinguished history of nearly 150 years. Its membership surely believes (and has backed this belief by generous use of its considerable intellectual and financial resources) that the mathematical imagination can, and should, flourish in all parts of the world, that it is a source of international harmony(as well as scientific and economic development), and that its future must be protected. As President, I am keenly aware of the intellectual distinction, and the altruism, of our membership, and I believe that one of my main responsibilities is to ensure that the distinctive voices of our Society are heard. There are many issues specific to mathematics where these voices need to be heard. One is of course the issue of Impact ( where there are related general issues, but where mathematics is among the sciences most at risk). Another complex of issues relates to content and structure in mathematical education, informed by detailed knowledge of international practice, an issue which has been curiously neglected . We ourselves have been rather slow to get involved, but I am very encouraged by recent discussions at FGPC and Council (these will , I hope, lead to Discussion Papers to be put to the membership).

Last year already I committed to increased openness and involvement of the membership. A flexible mechanism for this, our new website, is now under development, thanks to enormous efforts by members of Council , staff, and others The energy displayed in these efforts is mirrored in the activities of Research Policy Committee in the production of maths-specific highlevel Policy Papers, providing facts and essential materials for discussion with funding agencies or the International Review. These papers are to be available on the website. I can claim no credit for any of this, beyond encouraging it. Other notable activities of Council and Staff involve the beginnings of a membership drive, and funding to encourage independent activities by young researchers.

It is hard work being on Council, and I want to put on record my admiration for the the selfless contributions of its members, who are motivated by a commitment to the advancement of mathematics. The atmosphere is cooperative, everyone is involved, and there is a confidence that we can analyze our way to clear statements of purpose. Our staffing is now back to last year’s levels, and our new Executive Secretary is able to build on a warm cooperation between all who work at DMH.

My basic intention is to have us become more coherent about the fundamental issues closest to our hearts and minds, without premature emphasis on political aspects. Naturally the latter cannot be ignored, and one hopes to engage more with people of good intellectual will in the political world. We continue to collaborate with cousin organizations, but our highest priority is to get our own intellectual house in order.

My hope, in asking for your support for a final year as President, is to steer Council and the membership towards a renewed independence. We have more than enough to do to reinvigorate our society, and to raise the level of discussion on specifically mathematical issues. The purpose of this is to protect our subject from the risk of dilution beyond recognition.

I urge you all to vote. Please be careful not to miss the deadline!

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