Slovenian Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers

The Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers of Slovenia

The Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers of Slovenia was founded in 1949. It aimed to improve the teaching of mathematics and physics in Slovenia and to provide the Slovenes with a unified scientific and mathematical terminology. Another aim was to provide a source for publishing scientific articles in Slovenian and this it began in 1951 with the launch of Obzornik za matematiko, fiziko in mehaniko.

When the Society was founded in 1949 Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, as it had been since 1919. Following the German invasion in 1941, Slovenia was partitioned between German, Italy, and Hungary but, following World War II, Slovenia became part of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. The Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers of Slovenia was created to serve the needs of schoolteachers.

The reason that the Society was created as one to cover both mathematics and physics is that its main audience was schoolteachers. At the time it was founded teachers did not tend to have a single qualification to teach either mathematics or physics but rather taught both topics in schools. It was therefore natural to provide a Society which had the same spread of interests as its intended audience.

Plemelj was the most famous Slovenian mathematician at the time the Society was founded. When Plemelj died in 1967 he left his villa in the lake resort of Bled to the Society of Mathematicians, Physicists and Astronomers of Slovenia. Often today summer schools for mathematically talented school children take place in this villa.

The Society started up a new publication Presek aimed at school pupils in 1976. Although initially a great success with a circulation of around 20000, these numbers have diminished over the years to around 2600 at present.

Two important tasks which the Society undertakes to preserve the mathematical heritage of Slovenia is to assist in maintaining an exhibition to Vega in his birthplace of Zagorica, and one for Plemelj in the villa at Bled. It has also been responsible for erecting plaques and monuments throughout Slovenia to commemorate other important Slovenian mathematicians.

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JOC/EFR August 2004 School of Mathematics and Statistics
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