History of the SMS

The Swiss Mathematical Society was founded September 4, 1910 in Basel. Its first scientific meeting took place September 6 of the same year, also in Basel. The program of this historic meeting was published in L'enseignement mathématique, vol. 12, p. 522-528.

A few years later the need for a mathematical journal was felt. Since Switzerland has four official languages, a Latin title for the journal was chosen in a meeting of the Swiss Mathematical Society (SMS) on 20 May 1928: Commentarii Mathematici Helvetici. Subsequently, in 1929, Michel Plancherel, Andreas Speiser, Émile Marchand and Rudolf Fueter established the Foundation for the Promotion of the Mathematical Sciences with the aim to provide, together with the SMS, a solid financial basis for the new journal.

A History of the SMS, written by Urs Stammbach, is available in German. The history of mathematics in Switzerland, and the context in which the SMS emerged, is described in an article by Erwin Neuenschwander in the Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz. This article is available in German, French and Italian. A brief overview can also be found in a note by Norbert Hungerbühler in the Newsletter of the London Mathematical Society, No. 468, April 2017, p. 28-29.

In the framework of the centenary of the SMS, Erwin Neuenschwander composed a comprehensive chronicle of the society which was published in the centenary volume math.ch/100. This article is available here with the friendly permission of the EMS Publishing House. An English version appeared in the Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, Volume 66, Issue 176, p. 119-150.

Please visit also our Centennial page for more information.

The founding fathers of the SMS (see Past Presidents):

The founding fathers of the SMS