"I got back to ... and found that the readvertised Chair in Pure Maths at ... has once again been frozen. In fact ALL positions in the School of Physical Sciences (maths, physics and earth sciences) are frozen for the next 4 years, to the end of 2005. This is all rather disastrous for pure maths, with imminent retirements etc. It also means that no one will ever take an ad for a position here seriously again, since this has now happened twice"*
Mathematical Sciences in Australia: Looking for a Future had three principal findings:
It called for action while there was still some residual hope and energy left to address these inter- related problems. It noted that the recent reports had engendered some optimism in the science community but that the mathematical scientists did not share this. This lack of optimism is now shown to be justified. Some eighteen months later little has changed. If anything the situation has worsened, particularly in the universities.
This update will concentrate on the situation in the universities because, if that is not improved, there is little likelihood that the teacher supply situation can be improved. And unless the teacher supply problems can be overcome, many students will not have the option of advanced courses in year 12. The updated data on movement of mathematical scientists shows some disturbing tends:
This is unsustainable—not only are the mathematical sciences in continued decline but it defies commonsense when other areas of science and technology which are dependent on advanced level mathematics are supported. These include biostatistics, advanced computing, and security systems. Non-scientific areas dependent on a sound mathematical sciences base include the various financial services.
* Personal communication