The Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques (CIRM) was created in 1981 by the French mathematics community and has become an increasingly popular destination. It provides all the facilities and equipment that conference organizers and participants need, allowing for collaborative work in mathematical sciences and other disciplines.
A centre for mathematicians in the south of France
Situated on an estate with a thousand-year history, on the doorstep of the calanques, CIRM is in a unique location in the south of France. It is a quiet place, linking the charms of traditional Provence with all the facilities that researchers need for a successful conference.
The work environment is comfortable and comprises seminar and meeting rooms of various sizes, a main lecture hall seating over ninety people, video-conferencing equipment, Wifi in all areas and a team of people dedicated to making each conference a success.
The main building called the ‘Bastide’ has kept the traditional look of Provençal houses with its pink walls. It contains a large number of bedrooms for events participants, as well as offices. Other bedrooms and studios, recently updated, are situated in nearby buildings all a few minutes from each other. CIRM can therefore cater for 90 residents at any one time.
The restaurant is one of the main features of CIRM and offers a varied cuisine based on traditional French cooking and local products. The traditional Marseille Bouillabaisse served on Thursdays is THE gourmet rendez-vous for conference participants.
Another pride of the Cirm, known internationally, is its library. The library is appreciated not only by the residents but also by the local and regional mathematical community. The library is open 24/7, 50 weeks a year, and hosts an impressive choice of books and journals.
A research chair in residence: the Jean-Morlet Chair
Alex Grossmann (a physician) and Jean Morlet (once an engineer for ELF) were major contributors to the development of Wavelet Theory in the 1980’s. Today, this theory is widely used in many applications such as image compression (jpg 2000). Luminy was one of the main venues where the two scientists and the international community worked on this theory. To celebrate this, CIRM created the Jean-Morlet Chair in 2013, in partnership with Aix-Marseille University and the City of Marseille.
Each Chair semester is intended to be held by an outstanding, innovative researcher from a non-French institution, who is selected to work closely with a local project leader based at Aix-Marseille University. This close collaboration helps to develop strong synergies between departments, between other researchers and doctoral students across international borders and also within the local mathematics departments.
The Jean-Morlet Chair has already attracted a lot of interest both from prospective recipients, as well as from the many participants in events organised within the remit of the Chair. Various areas of mathematical sciences are given a chance to be in the limelight for a whole semester, the aim being to boost collaborative discussion and findings.
A film producer
Researchers meet at CIRM each year in order to exchange and disseminate their knowledge and new findings. This wealth of information can now be recorded and promoted through high-quality audiovisual scientific documents.
CIRM has invested in top-of-the-range tools in order to record, edit and produce a catalogue of high-quality videos which are indexed and can therefore be viewed in short chapters, with meta-data enabling a more refined web search. This initiative is also one shared with the CARMIN consortium. Several collections include a scientific collection (Research talks) aimed at mathematicians and dealing with recent scientific progress, a general public collection (Outreach) especially targeting students and undergraduates, and a thematic collection which concentrates on ‘Special events’.
A first-class library
CIRM’s library owns one of the richest collections of mathematics books in France. With over 35,000 books and series and 1,500 paper or electronic journals, all areas of pure and applied mathematics are represented. Readers can find 500 new acquisitions on average each year. In addition, CIRM’s library has its own unique treasures: a large collection of complete works by famous mathematicians, some material dating back to the 16th century and to the beginning of the 19th century, and a Russian collection. Personal donations from illustrious mathematicians such as Gaston Julia, Szolem Mandelbrojt, André Adler, Philippe Flajeolet and Jean-Louis Ovaert have extended this prime collection.