The Independent University of Moscow (IUM) is a small elite college for future research mathematicians. It was founded in 1991 at the initiative of a group of well-known Russian mathematicians, who now comprise the Academic Council of the University. Professors P. Deligne (IAS, Princeton) and R. McPherson (IAS, Princeton) also played crucial roles in founding the Independent University.
The main goal pursued by the Independent University is to maintain the best traditions of Moscow Mathematical School. Gifted young people obtain the highest possible mathematical education as well as broad possibilities for further research and teaching. In spite of its small size, the high level of students and professors makes the IUM one of the leading mathematical centers in Russia. A paper in Newsletter of The European Mathematical Society provides more information about the IUM.
Starting from 1991, lecture courses were given by:
- V.I. Arnold (Univ. Paris Dauphine and IUM),
- A.A. Belavin (IUM),
- B.L. Feigin (IUM),
- S.M. Gusein-Zade (IUM),
- Yu.S. Ilyashenko (Cornell Univ. and IUM),
- A.G. Khovanskii (Univ. of Toronto and IUM),
- A.A. Kirillov (Univ. of Pennsylvania),
- I.M. Krichever (Columbia Univ.),
- S.P. Novikov (Univ. of Maryland),
- A.N. Rudakov (Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology),
- Ya.G. Sinai (Princeton),
- V.A. Vassiliev (IUM),
- and many others.
The Independent University has numerous international connections. In 1994 the IUM signed an agreement to collaborate with the leading French institution of higher learning, the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). Each year the best undergraduate and graduate students of the two institutions took part in an academic exchange program, having the opportunity to study under the advisorship of leading scientists of the partner country.
In 1998 a joint research project in geometry and topology with the University of Rennes (France) was initiated and is now efficiently functioning.
In September 2002, a French-Russian Mathematics Laboratory was inaugurated at the IUM, in the presence of high-ranking officials of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the French CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). The ribbon was cut by the recent Fields medalist Laurent Lafforgue who was the guest of the Laboratory for a month. The laboratory has a small permanent staff (six French researchers and twenty Russians) but has the financial means for organizing conferences and inviting visiting researchers.
The IUM has a general mathematics seminar, called “Globus”, where internationally recognized mathematicians give talks to the students and faculty. In 1999-2017 such talks were given by Pierre Cartier (ENS, Paris), Steve Smale (Hong Kong – Berkeley), Anatole Katok (Pennsylvania State University), Laurent Lafforgue (IHES, Paris), A.Vershik (St.Petersburg), A.Beilinson (Chicago), A.Zelevinsky (Boston) and others.
Since 1993, the IUM has offered a (three-year) graduate program. Not only IUM professors, but also other mathematicians are invited as academic advisors. Each graduate student has already published paper(s) of his own. Sixty two of the graduates have already completed the graduate program and defended their PhD theses, five of them have also defended their State Doctor theses (next after Phd and the highest degree in Russia needed to get full professorship in leading universities), three of them have been elected correspondent members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2006 one of our graduates (Andrei Okounkov) was awarded the Fields medal, the Nobel prize analog in mathematics. Graduate students often teach optional courses to IUM students. The possibility for a talented young person to give a course of his/her own choice is one of the advantages of the IUM. In 1998 the American Mathematical Society published a collection of research papers by professors and graduate students of the IUM (“Mathematics at the Independent University of Moscow”, AMS Translations, Series 2, vol. 185, 1998).
The Independent University is situated in a newly reconstructed modern building of the Moscow Center for Continuous Mathematical Education (MCCME) in the very center of Moscow. This building includes a library, a computer class, a cafeteria, a small publishing house, and a bookshop specializing in math books. The library receives a number of scholarly journals that arrive significantly earlier than in any other academic library in Moscow, thanks to the help of our foreign partners.
The publishing house of the IUM and MCCME has published, since its foundation in 1991, several dozen Lecture Notes of the courses given at the IUM. These Lecture Notes are very popular among the students, in particular due to their low prices. Some of them have since been republished by other publishing houses. These include “Partial differential equations” by V.I. Arnold, “Introduction to topology” by V.A. Vassiliev, “Algebra for beginners” by E.B. Vinberg (Factorial Publ.), “Geometry” by V.V. Prasolov and V.M. Tikhomirov, “Knots, links and 3-manifolds” by V.V. Prasolov and A.B. Sossinsky (MCCME Publ.), “Kahlerian geometry of loop spaces” by S.G.Sergeev, “Differential geometry” by S.M.Gusein-Zade, “Lectures in mathematical logic and the theory of algorithms” by A.Kh.Shen and N.K.Vereshagin, “Introduction to mathematical statistical physics” by R.A.Minlos, “Lectures on generating functions” by S.K.Lando, “The moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces, real algebraic curves, and their superanalogs” by S.M.Natanson, “Polynomials” by V.Prasolov, “Lagrangian and Legandrian characteristic classes” by V.A.Vassiliev and others.
Since 2001 the IUM has been publishing an English-language Research quarterly, The Moscow Mathematical Journal (distributed in the West by the American Mathematical Society). Now The Moscow Mathematical Journal has the highest impact factor among Russian mathematical journals.
The MCCME works in very close contact with high schools in Moscow and other parts of Russia, with various forms of extra-curricular mathematical education and competitions. IUM and MCCME take part in the organization of such celebrated mathematical competitions as the Moscow High School Mathematical Olympiad and the (international) Tournament of Towns headed by Professor N.N. Konstantinov.
These activities allow the IUM to form a solid base for its own further development.