Scientific societies, universities, research institutes, and foundations from all corners of the globe have banded together and dedicated 2013 to the Mathematics of Planet Earth.
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute — along with it partners — is leading the Australian effort in spreading the word about the importance mathematics has for our planet at risk, our planet to discover, our planet organised by humans and our planet supporting life.
Patronage from UNESCO and endorsements by the International Mathematical Union and the International council of Industrial and Applied mathematics will ensure exceptional opportunities for long-term collaboration and partnerships, both within the mathematical sciences and other scientific disciplines.
The global mission of the MPE project is to:
Encourage research in identifying and solving fundamental questions about planet earth
Encourage educators at all levels to communicate the issues related to planet earth
Inform the public about the essential role of the mathematical sciences in facing the challenges to our planet
The concept to dedicate 2013 to the MPE was born from the need and want of the global mathematical community to engage with and learn more about the challenges faced by our planet. Whilst engaging the general public and our youth is important, the year is also committed to highlighting the underlying mathematics of current global issues and to increasing the research efforts of these problems.
Comprehending our planet and its environment is under ever increasing pressure. This is due to several factors:
Growing populations competing for the same global resources
Increased frequency and intensity of meteorological events
The increasing evidence pointing to long term patterns of climate change
Mathematicians are specialists at modelling and problem solving – as are many scientists. Fostering a year that emphases the mathematics of climate change and sustainability, geophysics, ecology and epidemiology, biodiversity, and the global organisation of the planet by humans will attract researchers with a wide range of expertise. And hopefully deliver some outstanding research and perhaps even solutions to some of these problems.
The outreach component of MPE will demonstrate for the public and for our schools this expertise. It aims to motivate kids in schools by providing stimulating answers to questions of the vein: “What is mathematics used for?”
AMSI looks forward to putting Australian research on the global stage in a bid to answer some of the world’s toughest questions.