Belgium Mathematical Society

The Belgium Mathematical Society

On 14 March 1921 a preliminary meeting took place which decided to set up a (according to their minute translated in [1]):-

Mathematical Circle where all questions concerning pure and applied mathematics would be considered, by lectures, communications and discussion.

The first meeting had consisted of nine people, but by the time of the second meeting there were twenty-two present. Lectures were given by A Errera and Th De Donder, and rules were drawn up. In November 1921 the statutes for the Belgium Mathematical Circle were adopted and, in the following January, the 'Circle' decided to change their name to Belgium Mathematical Society.

The statutes state that [1]:-

The aim of the Society is to contribute to progress and diffusion of mathematics in Belgium. It is concerned with mathematics, pure and applied, in the broadest sense. It will try to establish a permanent link between secondary school and university.

They also commit the Society to monthly meetings (except in August and September), set the membership fee, and stated that if the Society was closed down:-

... the assets are given to the poor.

The monthly meetings flourished (except for a period during World War II). Unlike many mathematical societies there was no official society publication until 1947 when the first volume of the Bulletin de la Société Mathématique de Belgique appeared. As Lemaire notes in [1], the Society was clearly not that certain that the Bulletin would continue publication since they did not number this first volume. In fact volumes appeared annually until 1953 without a number, but by that stage they had sufficient confidence to give number the volume as Vol. 6.

Guy Hirsch was elected deputy secretary of the Society in 1947 and he ran it almost single-handed for many years. The Bulletin was run by a small editorial board until 1955 when Hirsch took over as the only editor. In 1977 the Bulletin split into two series, with Hirsch remaining the sole editor of one of the two series until 1993.


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