April 1977 Council Minutes
MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING DATED APRIL l6, 1977
The Council met in the French Suite (L&M) of the Hotel Biltmore in New
York on Saturday, April l6, 1977, at 2:00 PM. Council members in attendance
were D. Bailey, R. Bartle, H. Bass, L. Bers, R. H. Bing, W. Browder, P. Church,
R. Douglas, M. Gray, J. Green, K. Hofman, W. LeVeque, H. McKean, E. Pitcher,
K. Ross, L. Rothschild, R. Seeley, S. Shatz, O. Taussky, D. Waterman, and J.
Wilkins, Jr. Also present were L. Durst, R. Hahn, H. MacDonald, and G. L.
Walker. The privilege of the floor was extended to R.D. Anderson, L. Lorch,
and J. Serrin. President Bing was in the chair.
Minutes dated January 26, 1977 had been distributed by mail. Two
corrections were proposed. A sentence should be added to the fourth full
paragraph on p. 5.
The Council approved participation jointly with MAA and
SIAM in sponsorship of a Congressional Science Fellow.
The text of the minute on P. 9, third paragraph, concerning the Fulkerson Fund
should have three changes.
In Item l: Replace SOCIETY FOR MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING by
MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING SOCIETY.
IN Item 2: Replace SELECTIVE by SELECTION.
In Item 3: Insert comma after ceremony.
With these changes, the minutes were approved.
Minutes of Council business by mail dated Feb. l7, 1977 and recording
the election of William Browder and Isadore M. Singer to the EC were
distributed and were approved. They are attached.
The Treasurer's report was received.
The Joint Committee on Places of Meetings requested the Council to rule
that contributors of 10 and 20 minute papers not be scheduled to speak unless
they have preregistered with payment of the registration fee at meetings where
preregistration is in effect. The Committee has observed that there are many
speakers who avoid payment of the registration fee. It has further been
observed that there is a high rate of non-appearance to present a scheduled
paper. The proposed policy is intended to counteract both of these tendencies.
The proposal of the Committee was accepted.
When the POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS were established, the Council agreed
that they should be "research fellowships to be awarded strictly on the basis
of mathematical merit." Subsequently, the Trustees resolved that "Candidates
for an AMS Postdoctoral Fellowship shall be citizens or permanent residents of
a country in North America." The Secretary recently ruled on certain
administrative matters, for example, that the fellow may not hold another
fellowship or draw another salary concurrently. In 1977, for the first time,
the question of professional age, i.e., years past the Ph.D., arose in a
pressing sense. There were candidates who were several years past the Ph.D.
and who were serious contenders. No such person received honorable mention in
the competition as a matter of policy of the selection committee. A letter to
a candidate explaining this situation is attached. The Chairman of the
Committee and the Secretary asked whether this position were the wish of the
Professor Bers moved that the Council adopt the position that the AMS
Postdoctoral Fellowships are intended for recent Ph.D.'s in mathematics
regardless of chronological age. This was amended by addition of the
statement that another grant or salaried position cannot be held
simultaneously. In this form the motion passed.
The Council of August 23, 1976, considered a proposal from the
Nominating Committee of 1976 as follows:
It is suggested that one Vice-President (or another official elected
in a contested election) be made ex-officio Trustee.
This suggestion was referred to the Committee on Committees for discussion of
the mechanism without acceptance of the principle. That Committee presented
the following mechanism to the Council of January 26, 1977.
Every second year (or every fourth year) in a year when there is only one
vice-president to be elected, the Nominating Committee is instructed to
propose two candidates for one position consisting of vice-president for
two years and trustee for five years. The secretary is instructed to
arrange the ballot so that a single person is elected to two offices.
There were several comments as part of the presentation. First, this proposal
appears not to require a change in bylaws. As a corollary, one could return
readily to the current procedure. Second, with the election so conducted every
second year, there will be in alternate years, two or three of the five elected
trustees who have been Vice-Presidents, and always one of them serving
concurrently as vice-president. With the election so conducted every four
years, there will be one trustee who has been vice-president during four years
and two during one year over a five year period, with a trustee serving
concurrently as vice-president in alternate two year intervals.
Third, there is a matter of policy not settled in this presentation, in that
the council has decided that nominations by petition are acceptable for the
position of vice-president and not for the position of trustee.
The Council of January 26, received the above report and scheduled the
discussion of the Nominating Committee of l976 for the current meeting.
Following discussion there was a vote on the proposal of the Nominating
Committee. It was tied at 6 to 6. The President did not take the opportunity
to break the tie and ruled that the proposal of the Committee was not adopted.
A subcommittee of the Committee on Committees of l976 consisting of
R.D. Anderson and Chandler Davis had been charged to report on the desirability
of electing the Nominating Committee, as had been done in the last two years,
versus returning to the earlier process of naming of the committee by the
President. In particular, they were to report on the desirability of using
the method of the single transferable vote.
The report prepared by the Committee was presented by Prof. Anderson,
who also offered a position of his own. A position of Prof. Davis was
presented and was supported by Prof. Lee Lorch in the absence of Prof. Davis.
The report and the two positions are attached. However, the report and the two
positions were considered by the current Committee on Committees, of which
Prof. Anderson is Chairman, on the day before the Council meeting. That
Committee suggested a modified position, which was the one actually offered to
the Council for action. It contained three recommendations, offered as a
(1) That the Nominating Committee continue to be chosen by direct
election by the membership.
(2) That each candidate be asked to supply biographical information
to accompany the ballot.
(3) That each member should vote for at most four candidates without
indicating a preference among them, this method replacing the current
The three parts were considered seriatim. The first was passed immediately.
When the second part was raised for consideration, Prof. Judy Green
noted that she had separately proposed the following resolution:
All candidates in AMS elections should be invited to contribute a
paragraph of self-identification to be distributed with the ballot.
This contents of the paragraph are to be determined entirely by the
candidates and are subject to no editorial constraint other than
limitation on length.
She pointed out that it was more inclusive than the second recommendation, both
in the material to be included and the group to which it applied. She moved to
substitute her resolution for the second Committee recommendation.
Anderson pointed out the difference in nature between a member of the
Nominating Committee and a member of a legislative body such as the Council
and said that the Committees had considered asking candidates for the
Nominating Committee for statements of position and had rejected the proposal.
The argument was advanced that a paragraph composed according to the wishes of
the candidate was not required and did not compel the candidate to take any
position at all. The motion to substitute was passed. The motion as amended
The Council amended the motion of Prof. Green so that the last sentence
ends with the words "...are subject only to limitation on length." In so doing
the meaning of editorial constraint was discussed. It appeared to be agreed
that editorial constraint would be exercised to a limited degree, covering such
things as libel or bad taste should these arise, but not affecting choice of
subject matter or nature of self-identification or the kinds of scientific,
political, or social postions that the candidate might choose to espouse.
When the third Committee recommendation was discussed, Prof. Mary Gray
proposed as a substitute motion that use of the preferential ballot be
continued for another two years. The substitution was approved. The Secretary
proposed deletion of the words "for another two years". This was accepted and
in the amended form the motion was passed.
The Council of January 26, 1977 had postponed until the current meeting
the discussion of the two attached reports of the Committee on Prizes
concerning the Steele Prize dated August 25, 1976, and January 20, 1977. Prof.
James Serrin, Chairman of the Committee on Prizes, presented the
recommendations in two parts. First, it was recommended that there be three
regular yearly awards of prizes respectively in the following categories:
1. For cumulative impact of the total published mathematical work of the
2. For a book or substantial survey or expository-research paper.
3. For a paper, whether recent or not, which has proved to be of seminal or
lasting importance in its field, or a model of important research.
The description of the first category was replaced by the following:
For cumulative impact of the total mathematical work of the
recipient, high level research over a period of time,
particular influence on the development of a field, and
influence on mathematics through Ph.D. students.
The amount of the prizes, as recommended to the Trustees, was to be
Second, that Steele Prizes be established as a supplement to and under
the names of the Bocher, Cole, Veblen, Birkhoff, and Wiener Prizes in such
amounts as the Council shall recommend from time to time. An amount sufficient
to bring the total to at least $500 for each prize was suggested. However, on
the suggestion of Prof. Shatz, the recommended total was raised to $1500.
The motion, covering both recommendations in revised form, was passed.
Prof. Duane Bailey, Chairman of the Committee on Publication Problems,
presented the report of that Committee in two parts. The first is as follows:
There is a desire to have recent mathematical research of great
significance communicated quickly and comprehensively to the
mathematical public. The Research Announcements in the BULLETIN
were designed to serve this end. Many persons feel that they have
largely failed in this purpose, and some ever despair that any
similar vehicle of publication can do much better. In recommending
suspension of the Research Announcements we remain concerned with
the above goal. We, therefore, recommend that the Council establish
a committee to explore the feasibility of the following proposal.
The AMS should establish a kind of Current Literature Symposium,
modeled somewhat on the Bourbaki Seminar. It would sponsor special
sessions, say with three or four hour talks, at each of the winter
and summer meetings of the Society. The subjects covered should be
selected from the most significant mathematical research of the recent
past. This selection like that of the speakers, would be made by a
small Board of, say four or five mathematicians, who would function
with a combination of the features of a board of editors (like that
for the expository articles in the BULLETIN), and of a committee to
select speakers. The identity of this group would be public, and
individuals would be welcome to submit recommendations, with
manuscripts and/or references, and supporting documentation.
Just how the Board itself should be selected is not clear.
Three principles of the Bourbaki Seminar should be adopted:
l. The invited speaker is NOT the author of the research to be
2. The speaker has high expository abilities.
3. A typed manuscript should be supplied by the speaker in time to be
reproduced and made available in limited quantity to persons attending the
lectures. This requirement is not merely convenient for the auditors. It
assures a care and seriousness in exposition that cannot otherwise be assured
or presumed. Further, this provides a means of timely dissemination of the
material to persons unable to attend meetings.
These lecture manuscripts could be published periodically, either in the
NOTICES as part of a report on the meeting in question, or else assembled for a
series of AMS publications in books or lecture notes form, using photocopy
Although the report recommends the establishment of a committee to
conduct a feasibility study, the committee was not actually authorized. The
Council heard the second part of the report of the Committee, debated it at
length, and did not return to the first. The second part was the following
We recommend that the new expository journal created by the BT be
called THE BULLETIN of the American Mathematical Society, New Series, and
that it contain research expository articles (chosen by a collegial board
of Associate Editors) and book reviews.
It was observed that the recommendation by implication eliminated
research announcements in their present form from the BULLETIN. Discussion
centered on the general dissatisfaction with the system of research
announcements, particularly over the difficulty of selecting significant papers
in a process of refereeing in which the papers contain no proofs.
The motion was passed. It was thought desirable that announcement of
the demise of research announcements appear in the June NOTICES. [However, the
Secretary was unable to frame an announcement satisfying those who saw it
initially in time for the deadline of the June issue.]
Prof. Karl Hofmann had presented the attached letter concerning
publication standards for the TRANSACTIONS and a possibly different set for the
Memoirs, handled by the same Editorial Committee. He amplified his position
for the Council, calling for a "first rate" journal, rather than an "elite"
journal, of somewhat larger size than the 4,000 pages set for l978 by the EC
following the recommendation of the Editorial Committee. There was extended
discussion of standards, quotas, the purpose of the TRANSACTIONS and of the
MEMOIRS and their postion in the community of mathematical publishing, and the
solicitation of papers. At the close of the discussion, President Bing asked
Prof. Church, Chairman of the Editorial Committee of the TRANSACTIONS and
MEMOIRS to prepare a questionnaire, with the assistance of the other editors,
that would be useful to the council in further consideration of the standards
and the place of the TRANSACTIONS and MEMOIRS.
The procedure of blind refereeing for the PROCEEDINGS was established
in January 1975 as a two year experiment, to be reviewed after that time. At
the Council meeting of January 26, 1977, the current meeting was established as
appropriate for the the review. The following statement was approved by a mail
ballot of the PROCEEDINGS Editorial Committee:
Blind refereeing was a completely uncontrolled experiment and
there is no way to evaluate it. We would be happy to drop it
but not at the expense of dissension with the Society. It is
not the editors repsonsibility to remove internal evidence in
places where it may appear such as the bibliograph and
It was reported that a substantial majority of the l2 members of the
Editorial Committee of the PROCEEDINGS who voted were in favor of the
statement. There are some members who are unhappy with it, and some who suggest
that it be optional. The editors seem to be learning to live with it although
some regard it as a great nuisance.
Prof. Ronald Douglas, a member of the Editorial committee of the
PROCEEDINGS, amplified the formal statement, saying that the editors would be
happy to drop blind/ refereeing, but not at the expense of long discussion or
of dissension and that the differences of opinion on its value were not held
with the degree of passion that appeared to rest with some members of the
Professors Gray and Green cited unspecified instances of persons at
non-prestigious schools and of women who were convinced by personal experience
of the value of blind refereeing, in having papers first rejected by one
journal and then accepted in a blind refereeing process.
Prof. Bers stated his distress in hearing a statement that appeared to
cast doubt on the integrity of referees and of the process and wished to have
such charges investigated, as by requesting the persons with such personal
experience to report it for investigation. The difficulty of persuading an
individual in a subordinate position with a rejected paper to come forward
Prof. Gray moved that blind refereeing for the PROCEEDINGS be continued
for two more years and that an ad hoc committee, possibly consisting of two
PROCEEDINGS Editors and Lipman Bers, be established to determine how to gather
more information. The motion evaporated in discussion and an indecisive straw
Prof. Gray moved that blind refereeing for the PROCEEDINGS be
continued. This came immediately to a roll call and passed by a vote of 8 1/2
to 4 1/2.
Prof. Bartle moved that the problem of the effectiveness of blind
refereeing be studied. In the discussion, the question of how to do it was
raised. It was agreed that an announcement should be published in the NOTICES
describing the procedure, stating that the Council had agreed to continue it
for the PROCEEDINGS, and noting that unless there was good evidence of its
value, there would be a tendency to abandon it. Moreover, it should refer to
nebulous reports of persons who thought it of value because of personal
experience and should ask for direct, detailed, factual statements on the real
usefulness of blind refereeing, with as much documentation as possible. It
should state that information would be handled in confidence and that anonymous
communications would receive appropriate consideration. With this
understanding of the way to begin the study, the motion was passed.
There are ten mathematical societies with whom this Society might
consider entering into reciprocity agreements. Five of them have asked,
specifically, about reciprocity, namely:
Southeast Asian Math. Society
New Zealand Math. Society
Mathematical Society of the Phillipines
The Malaysian Math. Society
The Math. Society in Iran
The other 5 are correspondents on other subjects, who may naturally be
expected to inquire about reciprocity, namely:
Sociedada de Matematica de Chile
Bangladesh Math. Society
Societe Maatematique du Viet Nam
Societe de la Mathematique de Grece
Irish Math. Society
The Executive Director sought guidance on how to respond to or approach
each of these ten Societies.
The Council agreed that each of the first five should be accepted for
The Executive Director proposed using the societies with whom this
Society has reciprocity agreements for a reciprocal advertising arrangement, at
no direct cost, to promote the sale of a paperback edition of the book
MATHEMATICAL DEVELOPMENTS ARISING FROM HILBERT PROBLEMS. An internal memo
about the proposal is attached. With the precarious nature of relations with
societies by reciprocity in mind, he asked about the propriety of the proposal.
Although there was no formal motion, the consensus was that the proposed
reciprocal advertising arrangement was acceptable.
The Council met in executive session beginning at 6:30 PM.
The Council accepted the resignation of Murray Protter as Associate
Treasurer effective July l, 1977.
The Council elected Steve Armentrout to the post of Associate Treasurer
for the last half of l977 and all of 1978. The Trustees had already signified
their intent of approving the election.
The Council of January 26, 1977, authorized the EC to consult the
representatives on the Board of Editors of the American Journal to obtain a
single suitable and willing candidate to replace Hyman Bass on that Board.
That candidate was Richard G. Swan, who was elected to the position by the
Council, subject to approval by the Trustees.
The Council accepted the resignation of Alexandra Bellow from the post
of member of the Editorial Committee of the Transactions and Memoirs effective
July l, 1977.
The Council elected W.A.J. Luxemburg to the post of member of the
Editorial Committee of the Transactions and Memoirs for the latter half of
l977, subject to the approval of the Trustees.
The Nominating Committee recommended for the office of President-
Elect, the name of Peter Lax.
The Committee offered the following slate for contested offices:
Vice-President (2 positions)
Armand Borel Institute
Julia B. Robinson Berkeley
Hans F. Weinberger Minnesota
John Wermer Brown
Member-at-Large (5 postions)
Joan Birman Columbia
James A. Donaldson Howard
Richard M. Dudley MIT
Clifford J. Earle, Jr. Cornell
Daniel Gorenstein Rutgers
Ronald L. Graham Bell Tel. Labs
H. Blaine Lawson Berkeley
In considering these proposed names, Prof. Judy Green suggested that
the name of Lee Lorch be added to the slate for Vice-President. The Council
did not approve.
Prof. Green proposed that the name of Murray Gerstenhaber be added to
the slate for Member-at-Large. The council did not approve.
The Council then approved the late presented by the Nominating Comm.
[Subsequently, both Armand Borel and Hans Weinberger declined nomination.]
The Council received for information the attached incomplete list of
suggestions for the uncontested offices.
A brief as AMICUS CURIAE in the case of Gary B. Laison vs. Lehigh U.
was received and is attached, together with a letter from President Bing
explaining how it happens that the brief was submitted without the approval of
the Council, which was to have been sought by mail ballot. On a motion by
Prof. Judy Green, the Council endorsed the action of President Bing.
In open session, the Council received the following proposed motion
from Associate Secretary Paul Bateman.
The Council recommends that there should be no time overlap
whatsoever in the meetings of two sections which are geographically
adjacent. More specifically, it recommends that there should be
at least one day between the last day of any sectional meeting
and the first day of any meeting in an adjacent section. It
shall be the responsibility of the Secretary to see that this
policy is enforced. Exceptions can be made only with the
approval of the full council. Associate Secretaries are
strongly encouraged to initiate the planning of sectional
meetings well over a year ahead of time in order to allow
plenty of time for the resolution of conflicts.
The Council recognized that the proposal is already standard practice, violated
only occasionally by error. It was the sense of the Council that the practice
should continue. No formal motion was passed.
The Council received the information that President Bing had nominated
the following six candidates for the four positions on the Nominating Comm."
R. Creighton Buck
Calvin C. Moore
Cathleen S. Morawetz
If nominations by petition do not bring the total to at least eight, he is
prepared to make additional nominations.
Prof. Green proposed the following resolution:
The informal self-identification of an AMS member as a student
or an unemployed mathematician should be accepted by the Society
for any purpose to which it is relevant without resort to
special forms of affiliation.
After a brief discussion of the procedures now followed, the matter was
referred to the Comm. on Places of Meetings to determine whether the procedures
can be effective without being traumatic.
The Council received the attached memorandum from Saunders Mac Lane
together with a statement concerning candidates for a position of Congressional
Fellow for l977-78. Assistance in soliciting strong candidates was requested.
April 16, 1977