Olech's opening address to the International Congress in Warsaw

The 1982 International Congress of Mathematicians was held in Warsaw in August 1983. The work on the Congress is recorded in Zbigniew Ciesielski and Czeslaw Olech (eds.), Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians August 16-24, 1983, Warsaw (Polish Scientific Publishers, Warsaw, 1984). We give a version of the report of the Opening ceremony of the Congress, in particular giving Czeslaw Olech's Opening address:

The opening ceremonies of the Warsaw Congress took place in the Congress Hall of the Palace of Culture on August 16, 1983 at 9.30. After a performance of the men's choir of the Choral Society "Harfa" (The Harp), which started with the national anthem, Professor Lennart Carleson, President of the International Mathematical Union for the years 1979-1982 opened the proceedings.

Lennart Carleson's address:

On behalf of the International Mathematical Union I am happy to greet you all here today to begin the work of the 1982 International Congress of Mathematicians. Already at the Zürich meeting in 1897 it was stated that the first objectives of the Congress are to promote the personal relations between mathematicians from different countries and to give a survey of the state of our science. The rules of the congresses have, through the years, become firmer and since 1962 the IMU is formally responsible for the scientific content. This Congress meets under special circumstances, but the main objectives remain and to keep unbroken traditions has been a fundamental concern to the IMU.

The organization of the Congress is by our rules in the hands of an organizing committee. Following a well established tradition I now propose that the president of the organizing committee, Professor Czeslaw Olech, is elected President of the Warsaw Congress.

Election of Czeslaw Olech:

The proposal of Professor Carleson was accepted by acclamation. Following his election Professor Olech gave his presidential address to the Congress.

Olech's Presidential address:

It is my pleasant duty to declare the 1982 International Congress of Mathematicians open.

This is a great and happy moment for the Polish mathematical community, strongly represented here, on whose behalf I would like to welcome cordially all foreign participants.

On behalf of all of you, I would like to welcome the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor Aleksander Gieysztor. We greatly appreciate the fact that he consented to be the Patron of the Warsaw Congress and that he has been so kind as to attend this ceremony in person.

I also extend a most cordial welcome to all our distinguished guests. Among them, I wish to greet Professor Zdzislaw Kaczmarek, the Scientific Secretary of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor Stanislaw Nowacki, Deputy Minister of Science, Higher Education and Technology, Mr Jozef Wiejacz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Stanislaw Szewczyk, Vice-President of the City of Warsaw.

Organizing a meeting of this magnitude would not have been possible without the active support of the Government. At an early stage, before the International Mathematical Union (IMU) had made its final decision, the Secretary of the Polish Academy of Sciences explicitly promised to back the Congress should it be held in Poland; that promise has been fulfilled in all aspects. We have likewise received the support of the various governmental agencies throughout the preparations for the Congress. For the support and smooth cooperation of these agencies, I would like to express thanks and appreciation. Professor Urbanik, inviting you to Warsaw at the closing ceremony in Helsinki, said: "For a long time Polish mathematicians have carried in their hearts the desire to organize an international Congress".

The best example of those was Professor Kazimierz Kuratowski, once very active in the IMU, who was strongly advocating the initiative to invite the Congress to Poland. I am very sorry that he did not live long enough to share with us this happy moment.

The hope that the desire to have the Congress in Poland would become a reality was based on the belief that the rich tradition of mathematical research carried out in this country makes Poland an acceptable choice for the Site Committee.

We are privileged to have with us Professor Wladyslaw Orlicz, the Nestor of Polish mathematicians, who, for more than fifty years has been enriching this tradition in Poland.

I propose that Professor Orlicz be elected Honorary President of the Congress.

[The proposal was warmly accepted by the Congress and Professor Wladyslaw Orlicz was elected Honorary President by acclamation.]

The general aim of an ICM is to give an appraisal of current mathematical research. This important and difficult task could not be reached without wide international cooperation, and the active involvement and hard work of many leading mathematicians.

The official mathematical programme is decided upon by an international Consultative Committee established for ICM by IMU. This Committee, after two years' work, produces the final list of invited speakers, taking into account the proposals of the panels and the suggestions of the National Committees.

The Consultative Committee for the present Congress consists of six members appointed by IMU - Professor Jean-Pierre Serre, chairman, and Professors Michael Atiyah, William Browder, Pierre Deligne, Ludvig Faddeev and Shmuel Winograd.

Three other members, Bogdan Bojarski, Zbigniew Ciesielski and Stanislaw Lojasiewicz, represent the Organizing Committee. May I propose that we thank the Consultative Committee for the work they have done and that we also extend our thanks to all those involved in preparing the programme. The organizational responsibility for the Congress was shared by the Department of Mathematics of the Warsaw University, the Institute of Mathematics of the Warsaw Technical University and the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. A number of mathematicians from outside Warsaw were also members of the Organizing Committee. Many institutions and individuals, mathematicians and members of the administrative staff have been involved in the preparations. I wish to thank them all for their hard work for their support, for sharing with me the responsibility for the Congress. The role of the Organizing Committee is mainly technical.

This time, however, the Organizing Committee was faced with some extra responsibility when the question of holding the Congress in Warsaw was again raised and discussed.

In April 1982, the Executive Committee of IMU, considering the scientific prospects for the ICM-82 at that time, decided to postpone the Warsaw Congress by one year. This decision was accepted by the Organizing Committee in the conviction that it would be advantageous for the final result. The final scientific result you will be witnessing yourselves. It depends not only on those who have prepared the program but also on the cooperation of those who have been chosen to fill in the programme with the invited survey lectures, both plenary and in sections. I regret that you will not have the opportunity to listen to some of the lecturers announced in the Third Announcement or even in the printed Programme you have just received. Nevertheless the number of invited speakers present at the Congress, though not full, is over one hundred and I would like to welcome them particularly warmly.

Applying for the Congress in Warsaw, we expected that this would be an opportunity for greater participation in an ICM of mathematicians from Poland and other socialist countries. I would like to observe with great satisfaction that our expectations have become a reality.

Warsaw is a known centre for mathematical research. It was here that the first specialized international journal of mathematics in the world was founded. I am speaking of the Fundamenta Mathematicae. Here, for the last ten years, mathematicians from all over the world meet regularly at the Stefan Banach International Mathematical Centre, a common enterprise of the Academies of socialist countries.

Let me express the hope that this Congress will contribute to all these international mathematical traditions to a considerable extent.

The Opening Ceremony continued:

Professor Olech left the floor to the Patron of the Congress, Professor Aleksander Gieysztor, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences ...

JOC/EFR January 2013

The URL of this page is: