By Chung Hyun-chae
The 27th International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), the world's largest math-related event, will be held at COEX, southern Seoul, Aug. 13-21.
The ICM is expected to be the largest of its kind, attracting more than 5,000 mathematicians from about 120 countries.
The congress is the fourth to be hosted by an Asian city. It was held in Hyderabad, India in 2010; Beijing, China in 2002, and Kyoto, Japan in 1990.
Seoul was selected as the venue for the ICM in 2010.
The congress is sponsored by the International Mathematical Union, which consists of some 80 national mathematics organizations around the world.
"I hope the congress draws out people's interest in mathematics and promotes mathematics studies," said Jang Seok-young, director general at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The ministry supports the event.
The congress has often been dubbed the "Olympics of Math" in that the event is held once every four years and awards the Fields Medal, the top prestigious prize dubbed the "Nobel Prize for Math" to a mathematician under 40 for outstanding achievements.
The prize has been granted to 52 mathematicians since 1936, 13 of whom were from the U.S. and 12 from France. Korean mathematicians have never received the award.
Participants in the Seoul gathering will discuss unsolved mathematical problems and present high-level mathematics treatises. International mathematicians will try to find the best direction for math research during the nine-day congress.
There will be 21 keynote speeches, 179 guest lectures and six panel discussions. Professor Hwang Jun-muck will become the first Korean to give a keynote speech on the second day of the congress.
There will also be diverse cultural events in which the public can participate, as part of the organizer's effort to turn the congress into a festival.
Other events will include mathematics exhibitions, a film screening, the "Bridges Seoul 2014 Conference," which is an international mathematics conference, baduk playing and public speeches.
The organizer expects more than 30,000 people to take part in the events.
James Simons, a U.S. fund manager who was a mathematician, will make a public speech on the first day of the congress at COEX Hall D.
Many other cultural events will be held before and after the congress in order to raise awareness about mathematics and publicize the ICM.
An online math game competition will run from July 9 to Aug. 9, and lectures have been underway from March.
Meanwhile, the Korea Post issued commemorative stamps featuring famous mathematical theories on Tuesday.