This is the second time I have the privilege of greeting the members of IAMP as President, the first being 1982-1984. Since the ballots were being counted just as this issue of the News Bulletin was going to press, I have not yet had time to formulate a real `news' letter. My main message for now is that I am grateful for this second chance to serve the community; I will try to do better this time. I would also like to thank the previous executive committee and particularly the officers, Huzihiro Araki, Jurg Frohlich, Arthur Jaffe, and Aubrey Truman, who worked hard and well for the Association. We are all indebted to them for undertaking this task in addition to all the other commitments they had.
There are some general facts about IAMP that I would like to mention, however.
(1). Brisbane conference: Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend what will surely be an important and memorable meeting: icmp'97, XIIth International Congress of the IAMP, July 13-19, 1997 . During this meeting there will be an IAMP 'General Assembly' at 19:30 on Wednesday, July 16 to which all IAMP members are invited. (Information is on the web site http://www.maths.uq.oz.au/~icmp97). In the past there have been some interesting `free-ranging' discussions during these Assemblies and I trust this one will be lively, too. An agenda appears elsewhere in this News Bulletin.
(2). The significance of IAMP: Many times I am asked "why one should pay dues (a relatively modest $20US/year) to the Association when the main value is this News Bulletin and the triannual meeting'' (soon to take place in Brisbane). There are several answers. One is that IAMP could do more with the cooperation of and suggestions from members (Please feel free to write to me, [email protected], or anyone else on the executive commmittee about your ideas for projects). One thing it already does is provide greatly reduced subscription rates to several mathematical physics journals for private use.
But there is much more to IAMP than simple benefits for its members. It is one of the very few international organizations in which the members are people instead of scientific societies or other delegations. I am enough of an old-fashioned internationalist to think that this is important in these times of political fragmentation and increasing chauvinism.
Another important role, and possibly the main motivation at its foundation in the early 70's, is to bring the community together and forge an identity for mathematical physics, which is a subject that is not always clearly identified in either physics or in mathematics departments. Such mundane matters as career options, and advancement (in short, positions) can depend on the international visibility of the field. By supporting several local conferences each year (mostly morally) IAMP adds recognition to these meetings. Admittedly, more can be done in this direction, and IAMP plays an important role in this endeavour.
(3). Communication: The world is turning a corner; eventually, most scientific communication will be done electronically. This has not fully taken place for journals yet, but it is on its way. Many members have complained in the past that they did not always get the News Bulletin or ballots and this is partly due to the fact that ordinary 'snail' mail is not totally reliable, but more importantly that members do not keep their addresses up to date. In cooperation with Charles Radin, the new Secretary, I will try to make at least part of the News Bulletin available electronically, either on the web or by email. This will eventually be the standard practice; it is cheaper, quicker and more reliable than snail mail and it follows people around when they change their physical addresses. The details have to be worked out. Admittedly, some members might find email unreliable, and arrangements will be made to continue with hard copies in those cases. Email also allows the possibility for direct and rapid communication between the officers of the Association and members and I hope it will increase the sense of participation by members.
Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of our members have given us emailaddresses. It is essential, if you want to be in touch, that we have your email address. This can be checked on our web page:
You can also send it to Daniel Iagolnitzer, the new Treasurer, at
(4). Dues: This is an invariant problem. Pay your dues (and encourage your colleagues to join). They are modest, as I said, and members from countries in which they present any kind of problem can have them waived by writing to me. If you don't know your current dues status, please write to Daniel Iagolnitzer.
Elliott Lieb 1 March, 1997