Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Russia’s Math Diaspora

“Mathematicians may have left their mother country, but they didn’t leave the discipline, study finds.

When the quadrennial International Congress of Mathematicians took place at the University of California at Berkeley in 1986, almost half of the 80 speakers came from the Soviet Union.

Almost a quarter of a century later, just five of the 170 speakers invited to address the 2010 congress in Hyderabad, India, were affiliated with Russian universities.

The exodus of Russia’s best mathematicians to the West since the disintegration of the Soviet Union is often illustrated with such potent anecdotes, but two Moscow-based academics have now sought to quantify what the traditional mathematics powerhouse lost during the early-1990s brain drain and what the emigrants’ host countries have gained.”

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Languages do matter!


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