The National University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) was established in 1867 in Bogatá. There was a Faculty of Mathematics and Engineering which taught two years of mathematics before following that with three years of engineering. However, the mathematics was very old fashioned and did not cover the advances of the 19th century. The situation didn't change until the middle of the 20th century when two foreign mathematicians arrived in Colombia. These were Carlo Federici (1906-2004) and János Horváth (1924-2015) and since their role in the founding of the Colombian Mathematical Society is vital, we give some details of them.
Carlo Federici (known as Carlo Federici Casa in Colombia) was born in Ventimiglia, Italy, on 21 July 1906. He attended school in Genoa Sestri Ponente and then studied at the Instituto Víctor Manuel II in Genoa. He obtained a doctorate in physics from the University of Genoa in 1928 for his thesis Su un ds2 einsteiniano, then in 1930 a doctorate in mathematics for his thesis Sulle congruenze binomie. He became an assistant to Alessandro Padoa, working on mathematical logic at the University of Genoa from 1932 to 1942, then became professor of mathematical logic at the Cristoforo Colombo Gymnasium 1942-1948. As a Communist member of an anti-fascist group, he was arrested and imprisoned in 1945 and following this episode decided to emigrate to Colombia. He arrived in Bogotá on 8 April 1948. He taught at the National University of Colombia where he influenced the mathematicians there to become interested in mathematics for its own sake and not just as a tool for engineering.
János Horváth (known as Juan Horváth in Colombia and as John Horváth in the United States) was born in Budapest, Hungary, on 30 July 1924. He studied at the University of Budapest working under Lipót Fejér and Frigyes Riesz for his doctorate which he was awarded in 1947. He then spent time at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris before going to Colombia. He arrived in Bogotá in 1951 to strengthen the area of mathematics in the departments of engineering, architecture and economics at the newly founded Universidad de los Andes. However, he also joined the National University of Colombia where he taught several courses and held seminars on the latest mathematical developments which were completely new in the Colombian university environment. He founded the Revista de Matemáticas Elementales (Journal of Elementary Mathematics) in 1952 which was a joint publication of the National University of Colombia and the Universidad de los Andes. He moved to the United States in 1958.
The Colombian Mathematical Society was founded on 10 August 1955, at a meeting held at 7 o'clock in the evening in the house of Julio Carrizosa Valenzuela (1895-1974). He was the most enthusiastic of the engineers among the professors of mathematics at the National University. Influenced by Federici and Horváth he had become aware of the need to develop mathematics as an independent topic, and its importance to the future of Colombia. In addition to Julio Carrizosa Valenzuela, Carlo Federici Casa and Juan Horváth, the founding members of the Society were: Antonio María Gómez (1913-1979); Dario Rozo (1881-1964); Erwin Von Der Walde (1927-2016); Gabriel Poveda Ramos (1931); Guillermo Castillo Torres (1923-2000); Gustavo Perry Zubieta (1912-1986); Henry Yerly (1901-1984); Jorge Acosta Villaveces (1891-1965); Jose Ignacio Nieto (1930); Leopoldo Guerra Portocarrero (1911-1964); Luciano Mora Osejo (1928-2016); Luis De Greiff Bravo (1908-1967); Luis Ignacio Soriano (1903-1973); Michel Valero (1928-2008); Otto De Greiff (1903-1995); and Pablo Casas Santofimio (1927-1983).
Julio Carrizosa Valenzuela was elected as President of the new Society and he served from 1955 to 1957. We list at the end of this article all the Presidents of the Society. The statutes of the Society began as follows :-
Article 1. Organise by means of the present statutes the "Colombian Mathematical Society" with its headquarters in the city of Bogotá, whose main objective will be to stimulate and maintain interest in mathematics and in teaching and research in this branch of science.On 13 May 1999 the Society revised its statutes. The new statutes, which underpin the operating of the Society today, begin as follows :-
Article 2. In accordance with its objectives, the Society will promote the holding of conferences, meetings and congresses, as well as the publication of books, journals and monographs.
Article 1. The Sociedad Colombiana de Matemáticas (SCM) (Colombian Mathematical Society) is an entity of scientific and cultural nature, non-profit, with legal status, having its own assets and whose domicile is the city of Bogotá.The Society has two publications, the Revisita Colombiana de Matemáticas (Colombian Journal of Mathematics) and Lecturas Matemáticas (Mathematical lectures).
Article 2. The Society is intended to promote the development of Mathematics in the country and its specific aims are:
a) Encourage research and improvement of teaching in mathematics.Article 3. In accordance with its aims, the Society may:
b) Serve as a link between mathematicians and mathematics teachers.
c) Organise events and programmes that promote the development of Mathematics.
d) Ensure the achievement and improvement of conditions of people dedicated to the cultivation of Mathematics in its diverse areas, as well as those involved in its teaching and dissemination.
1. Collaborate with other bodies in matters of common interest.
2. Establish sections in other parts of the country.
Revisita Colombiana de Matemáticas
The Premio Nacional de Matemáticas
1957-1963 Gustavo Perry Zubieta
1963-1967 Carlos Lemoine Amaya
1967-1968 Ricardo Losada Márquez
1968-1970 Jaime Lesmes Camacho
1970-1971 Otto Raul Ruiz
1971-1973 Jairo Charris Castañeda
1973-1975 Carlos Ruiz Salguero
1975-1983 Alonso Takahashi Orozco
1983-1987 Jaime Lesmes Camacho
1987-1990 Myriam Muñoz de Ozac
1990-1993 Víctor Albis González
1993-1998 Ernesto Acosta Gempeler
1998-2003 Leonardo Rendón
2003-2017 Carlos H Montenegro
2017- Bernardo Uribe
List of References (2 books/articles)
Other Web site Society Web-site (in Spanish)