Romanian Mathematical Society

The Romanian Mathematical Society

The date for the founding of the Romanian Mathematical Society (Societatea de Stiinte Matematice din Romania) is usually given as 1910, yet we give here the much earlier date of 15 September 1895. In fact we might have given 1894 as the date, for in that year a society called The Friends of Mathematical Sciences was founded in Romania. In fact 15 September 1895 is the date when the first issue of the Gazeta Matematica was published although the 'Society Gazeta Matematica' did not become a legal entity until its statutes were approved by the Romanian Parliament in 1910.

The Friends of Mathematical Sciences merged with Society for Physical and Chemical Sciences three years after both were created. This union, formed in 1897, was then known as the Romanian Society of Sciences and they began publishing the Bulletin de la Société Roumaine de Sciences in the same year. In 1922 the Bulletin de la Société Roumaine split in two with one of the new journals being a specialist mathematical journal - Bulletin Mathématique de la Société Roumaine de Sciences.

In 1949 the Society Gazeta Matematica combined with the Romanian Society of Sciences to make the Romanian Society of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The two Societies remained together for fifteen years, then in 1964 they split again with the mathematical part being named the Societatea de Stiinte Matematice din Romania.

The Gazeta Matematica was set up by five young engineers who had become worried by the poor knowledge of mathematics among those training to become engineers in Bucharest. The journal aimed at challenging readers with interesting problems, and taking them to a deeper understanding of the subject than was achieved in a school education. To further these aims mathematical contests were organised beginning in 1902 to attract those children with a mathematical talent into the subject. In 1909 the editors of the Gazeta Matematica met and decided to set up the Mathematical Gazette Society. The members of the new Society are listed in the first issue of volume 15 of the Gazeta Matematica. The Society became a legal entity in the following year when its statutes were accepted and King Carol I promulgated the law establishing the Mathematical Gazette Society by Royal decree No. 3798.

The Society was keen to have premises from which to operate and in 1920 moves were first made to raise the necessary money. In 1923 the Society acquired a plot of land from the Romanian Railways on which to build their headquarters. In 1935, to mark their 40th anniversary, the Society constructed a new library. As we indicated above, the Society merged with the Romanian Society of Sciences in 1949 to create the Society of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. However, in the following year the State used force to occupy the buildings of the Society and the Society's library was destroyed. The Society managed to continue to publish the Gazeta Matematica, despite the loss of their headquarters and library, operating from private houses from four years before the Faculty of Mathematics of the University of Bucharest gave them two rooms from which to run the Society.

The emphasis on problem competitions, which was a feature of the Gazeta Matematica from its foundation, continued. The annual mathematical contests organised by the Society became National Olympiad competitions in 1949. Then at the Fifth Congress of the Romanian Mathematicians organised by the Romanian Society of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, it was proposed that an International Mathematical Olympiad competition be set up. The Society organised the International Mathematical Olympiad competition in Romania in 1959, 1960, 1969, 1978 and 1999. M Berinde and V Berinde write in [2]:-

It has become natural in Romania for gifted scholars in mathematics to work with Gazeta Matematica - generations of brilliant mathematicians have been involved with this journal, that has appeared continuously since its foundation, even in time of war, and whose monthly audience increased to 100,000 - 120,000 copies in the period 1970 - 1989.

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JOC/EFR August 2004 School of Mathematics and Statistics
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