**OVERVIEW**

The vitality of the U.S. mathematical sciences enterprise is excellent. The discipline has consistently been making major advances in research, both in fundamental theory and in high-impact applications. The discipline is displaying great unity and coherence as bridges are increasingly built between subfields of research. Historically, such bridges have served as drivers for additional accomplishments, as have the many interactions between the mathematical sciences and fields of application. Both are very promising signs. The discipline’s vitality is providing clear benefits to most areas of science and engineering and to the nation.

The opening years of the twenty-first century have been remarkable ones for the mathematical sciences. The list of exciting accomplishments includes among many others surprising proofs of the long-standing Poincaré *conjecture* and the “fundamental lemma”; progress in quantifying the uncertainties in complex models; new methods for modeling and analyzing complex systems such as social networks and for extracting knowledge from massive amounts of data from biology, astronomy, the Internet, and elsewhere; and the development of compressed sensing. As more and more areas of science, engineering, medicine, business, and national defense rely on complex computer simulations and the analysis of expanding amounts of data, the mathematical sciences inevitably play a bigger role, because they provide the fundamental language for computational simulation and data analysis. The mathematical sciences are increasingly fundamental to the social sciences and have become integral to many emerging industries.

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Summary
OVERVIEW
The vitality of the U.S. mathematical sciences enterprise is excellent.
The discipline has consistently been making major advances in research,
both in fundamental theory and in high-impact applications. The disci-
pline is displaying great unity and coherence as bridges are increasingly
built between subfields of research. Historically, such bridges have served
as drivers for additional accomplishments, as have the many interactions
between the mathematical sciences and fields of application. Both are very
promising signs. The discipline’s vitality is providing clear benefits to most
areas of science and engineering and to the nation.
The opening years of the twenty-first century have been remarkable
ones for the mathematical sciences. The list of exciting accomplishments in-
cludes among many others surprising proofs of the long-standing Poincaré
conjecture and the “fundamental lemma”; progress in quantifying the un-
certainties in complex models; new methods for modeling and analyzing
complex systems such as social networks and for extracting knowledge
from massive amounts of data from biology, astronomy, the Internet, and
elsewhere; and the development of compressed sensing. As more and more
areas of science, engineering, medicine, business, and national defense rely
on complex computer simulations and the analysis of expanding amounts
of data, the mathematical sciences inevitably play a bigger role, because
they provide the fundamental language for computational simulation and
data analysis. The mathematical sciences are increasingly fundamental to
the social sciences and have become integral to many emerging industries.
1

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2 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
This major expansion in the uses of the mathematical sciences has been
paralleled by a broadening in the range of mathematical science ideas and
techniques being used. Much of twenty-first century science and engineering
is going to be built on a mathematical science foundation, and that founda-
tion must continue to evolve and expand.
Support for basic science is always fragile, and this may be especially
true of the core mathematical sciences. In order for the whole mathemati-
cal sciences enterprise to flourish long term, the core must flourish. This
requires investment by universities and by the government in the core of the
subject. These investments are repaid not immediately and directly in ap-
plications but rather over the long term as the subject grows and retains its
vitality. From this ever-increasing store of fundamental theoretical knowl-
edge many innovative future applications will be drawn. To give short shrift
to maintaining this store would shortchange the country.
The mathematical sciences are part of almost every aspect of every-
day life. Internet search, medical imaging, computer animation, numerical
weather predictions and other computer simulations, digital communica-
tions of all types, optimization in business and the military, analyses of
financial risks—average citizens all benefit from the mathematical science
advances that underpin these capabilities, and the list goes on and on.
Finding: Mathematical sciences work is becoming an increasingly inte-
gral and essential component of a growing array of areas of investigation
in biology, medicine, social sciences, business, advanced design, climate,
finance, advanced materials, and many more. This work involves the
integration of mathematics, statistics, and computation in the broadest
sense and the interplay of these areas with areas of potential applica-
tion. All of these activities are crucial to economic growth, national
competitiveness, and national security, and this fact should inform both
the nature and scale of funding for the mathematical sciences as a whole.
Education in the mathematical sciences should also reflect this new
s
tature of the field.
Many mathematical scientists remain unaware of the expanding role for
their field, and this incognizance will limit the community’s ability to produce
broadly trained students and to attract more of them. A community-wide ef-
fort to rethink the mathematical sciences curriculum at universities is needed.
Mechanisms to connect researchers outside the mathematical sciences with
the right mathematical scientists need to be improved and more students need
to be attracted to the field to meet the opportunities of the future.
Conclusion: The mathematical sciences have an exciting opportunity
to solidify their role as a linchpin of twenty-first century research and

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SUMMARY 3
technology while maintaining the strength of the core, which is a vital
element of the mathematical sciences ecosystem and essential to its
f
uture. The enterprise is qualitatively different from the one that pre-
vailed during the latter half of the twentieth century, and a different
model is emerging—one of a discipline with a much broader reach and
greater potential impact. The community is achieving great success
within this emerging model, as recounted in this report. But the value
of the mathematical sciences to the overall science and engineering
enterprise and to the nation would be heightened if the number of
mathematical scientists who share the following characteristics could
be increased:
• T
hey are knowledgeable across a broad range of the discipline,
beyond their own area(s) of expertise;
• T
hey communicate well with researchers in other disciplines;
• T
hey understand the role of the mathematical sciences in the wider
world of science, engineering, medicine, defense, and business; and
• T
hey have some experience with computation.
It is by no means necessary or even desirable for all mathematical sci-
entists to exhibit these characteristics, but the community should work
toward increasing the fraction that does.
In order to move in these directions, the following will need attention:
• The culture within the mathematical sciences should evolve to
encourage development of the characteristics listed in the Conclu-
sion above.
• The education of future generations of mathematical scientists, and
of all who take mathematical sciences coursework as part of their
preparation for science, engineering, and teaching careers, should
be reassessed in light of the emerging interplay between the math-
ematical sciences and many other disciplines.
• Institutions—for example, funding mechanisms and reward
s
ystems—should be adjusted to enable cross-disciplinary careers
when they are appropriate.
• Expectations and reward systems in academic mathematics and sta-
tistics departments should be adjusted so as to encourage a broad
view of the mathematical sciences and to reward high-quality work
in any of its areas.
• Mechanisms should be created that help connect researchers out-
side the mathematical sciences with mathematical scientists who
could be appropriate collaborators. Funding agencies and academic

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4 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
departments in the mathematical sciences could play a role in
lowering the barriers between researchers and brokering such con-
nections. For academic departments, joint seminars, cross-listing
of courses, cross-disciplinary postdoctoral positions, collaboration
with other departments in planning courses, and courtesy appoint-
ments would be useful in moving this process forward.
• Mathematical scientists should be included more often on the
p
anels that design and award interdisciplinary grant programs.
Because so much of today’s science and engineering builds on
advances in the mathematical sciences, the success and even the
validity of many projects depends on the early involvement of
mathematical scientists.
• Funding for research in the mathematical sciences must keep pace
with the opportunities.
BROADENING OF THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
The mathematical sciences aim to understand the world by performing
formal symbolic reasoning and computation on abstract structures. One
aspect of the mathematical sciences involves unearthing and understanding
deep relationships among these abstract structures. Another aspect involves
capturing certain features of the world by abstract structures through the
process of modeling, performing formal reasoning on the abstract structures
or using them as a framework for computation, and then reconnecting back
to make predictions about the world. Often, this is an iterative process. Yet
another aspect is to use abstract reasoning and structures to make infer-
ences about the world from data. This is linked to the quest to find ways to
turn empirical observations into a means to classify, order, and understand
reality—the basic promise of science. Through the mathematical sciences,
researchers can construct a body of knowledge whose interrelations are
understood and where whatever understanding one needs can be found and
used. The mathematical sciences also serve as a natural conduit through
which concepts, tools, and best practices can migrate from field to field.
The Committee on the Mathematical Sciences in 2025 found that the
discipline is expanding and that the boundaries within the mathematical
sciences are beginning to fade as ideas cross over between subfields and the
discipline becomes increasingly unified. In addition, the boundaries between
the mathematical sciences and other research disciplines are also eroding.
Many researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences, life sciences, com-
puter science, and engineering are at home in both their own field and the
mathematical sciences. In fact, the number of such people is increasing as
more and more research areas become deeply mathematical. It is easy to
point to work in theoretical physics or theoretical computer science that is

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SUMMARY 5
indistinguishable from research done by mathematicians, and similar over-
lap occurs with theoretical ecology, mathematical biology, bioinformatics,
and an increasing number of fields.
The mathematical sciences now extend far beyond the boundaries
of the institutions—academic departments, funding sources, professional
societies, and principal journals—that support the heart of the field. They
constitute a rich and complex ecosystem in which people who are trained
in one area often make contributions in another and in which the solution
to a problem in one area can emerge unexpectedly from ideas generated in
another. Researchers in the mathematical sciences bring special perspectives
and skills that complement those brought by mathematically sophisticated
researchers with other backgrounds. And the expanding connections be-
tween the mathematical sciences and so many areas of science, engineer-
ing, medicine, and business make it ever more important to have a strong
mathematical sciences community through which ideas can flow. As stated
in a recent review of the mathematical sciences enterprise in the United
Kingdom, “Major contributions to the health and prosperity of society
arise from insights, results and algorithms created by the entire sweep of
the mathematical sciences, ranging across the purest of the pure, theory
inspired by applications, hands-on applications, statistics of every form,
and the blend of theory and practice embodied in operational research.”1
The committee members—like many others who have examined the
mathematical sciences—believe that it is critical to consider the mathemati-
cal sciences as a unified whole. Distinctions between “core” and “applied”
mathematics increasingly appear artificial; in particular, it is difficult today
to find an area of mathematics that does not have relevance to applications.
It is true that some mathematical scientists primarily prove theorems, while
others primarily create and solve models, and professional reward systems
need to take that into account. But any given individual might move be-
tween these modes of research, and many areas of specialization can and
do include both kinds of work. The EPSRC review referenced above put
this nicely:
The contributions of the mathematical sciences community should be
considered as a whole. Although some researchers focus some of the time
on addressing real-world challenges, other researchers devise remarkable
insights and results that advance and strengthen the entire discipline by
pursuing self-directed adventurous research.2
1 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), 2010, International Review
of Mathematical Science. EPSRC, Swindon, U.K., p. 10.
2 Op. cit., p. 12.

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6 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
Overall, the mathematical sciences share a commonality of experi-
ence and thought processes, and there is a long history of insights from
one area becoming useful in another. A strong core in the mathematical
s
ciences—consisting of basic concepts, results, and continuing exploration
that can be applied in diverse ways—is essential to the overall enterprise
because it serves as a common basis linking the full range of mathemati-
cal scientists.
Two major drivers of the increased reach of the mathematical sciences
are the ubiquity of computational simulations—which build on concepts
and tools from the mathematical sciences—and exponential increases in the
amount of data available for many enterprises. The Internet, which makes
these large quantities of data readily available, has magnified the impact
of these drivers. Many areas of science, engineering, and industry are now
concerned with building and evaluating mathematical models, exploring
them computationally, and analyzing enormous amounts of observed and
computed data. These activities are all inherently mathematical in nature,
and there is no clear line to separate research efforts into those that are part
of the mathematical sciences and those that are part of computer science
or the discipline for which the modeling and analysis are performed. The
health and vitality of the mathematical sciences enterprise is maximized if
knowledge and people are able to flow easily throughout that large set of
endeavors. The “mathematical sciences” must be defined very inclusively:
The discipline encompasses a broad range of diverse activities whether or
not the people carrying out the activity identify themselves specifically as
mathematical scientists.
This collection of people in these interfacial areas is large. It includes
statisticians who work in the geosciences, social sciences, bioinformatics,
and other areas that, for historical reasons, became specialized offshoots
of statistics. It includes some fraction of researchers in scientific com-
puting and in computational science and engineering. It also includes
number theorists who contribute to cryptography and real analysts and
statisticians who contribute to machine learning. And it includes as well
operations researchers, some computer scientists, and some physicists,
chemists, ecologists, biologists, and economists who rely on sophisticated
mathematical science approaches. Many of the engineers who advance
mathematical models and computational simulation are also included.
Anecdotal information suggests that the number of graduate students
receiving training in both mathematics and another field—from biology to
engineering—has increased dramatically in recent years. If this phenomenon
is as general as the committee believes it to be, it shows how mathemati-
cal sciences graduate education is contributing to science and engineering
generally and also how the interest in interfaces is growing.

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SUMMARY 7
Recommendation: The National Science Foundation should system-
atically gather data on such interactions—for example, by surveying
depart ents in the mathematical sciences for the number of enroll-
m
ments in graduate courses by students from other disciplines, as well
as the number of enrollments of graduate students in the mathematical
sciences in courses outside the mathematical sciences. The most effec-
tive way to gather these data might be to ask the American Mathemati-
cal Society to extend its annual questionnaires to include such queries.
Program officers in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Division
of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) and in other funding agencies are aware
of the many overlaps between the mathematical sciences and other disci-
plines. There are many examples of flexibility in funding—mathematical
scientists funded by units that primarily focus on other disciplines, and vice
versa. DMS in particular works to varying degrees with other NSF units,
through formal mechanisms such as shared funding programs and informal
mechanisms such as program officers redirecting proposals from one divi-
sion to another, divisions helping one another in identifying reviewers, and
so on. For the mathematical sciences community to have a more complete
understanding of its reach and to help funding agencies best target their
programs, the committee recommends that a modest amount of data be
collected more methodically than heretofore.
Recommendation: The National Science Foundation should assemble
data about the degree to which research with a mathematical science
character is supported elsewhere in that organization. (Such an analysis
would be of greater value if performed at a level above DMS.) A study
aimed at developing this insight with respect to statistical sciences
within NSF is under way as this is written, at the request of the NSF
assistant director for mathematics and physical sciences. A broader
such study would help the mathematical sciences community better
understand its current reach, and it could help DMS position its own
portfolio to best complement other sources of support for the entire
mathematical sciences enterprise. It would provide a baseline for iden-
tifying changes in that enterprise over time. Other agencies and foun-
dations that support the mathematical sciences would benefit from a
similar self-evaluation.
While the expansion of the mathematical sciences and their ever-wider
reach is all to the good, the committee is concerned about the adequacy of
current federal funding for the discipline in light of this expansion. The re-
sults of the two preceding Recommendations, and possibly related informa-
tion when available, would make it easier to evaluate the adequacy in full

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8 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
detail. However, the committee does note that while the growth in federal
funding for the mathematical sciences over the past decades has been strong
(especially at NSF), that growth does not appear to be commensurate with
the intellectual expansion found in the current study.
Conclusion: The dramatic expansion in the role of the mathematical
sciences over the past 15 years has not been matched by a comparable
expansion in federal funding, either in the total amount or in the diver-
sity of sources. The discipline—especially the core areas—is still heavily
dependent on the National Science Foundation.
OTHER TRENDS AFFECTING THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
In addition to the growing reach of the mathematical sciences, research
that is motivated by questions internal to the discipline is growing more
strongly interconnected, with an increasing need for research to tap into
two or more fields of the mathematical sciences. Some of the most excit-
ing recent advances have built on fields of study—for example, probability
and combinatorics—that were rarely brought together in the past. This
change is nontrivial, because of the large bodies of knowledge that must
be internalized by the investigator(s). Because of these interdisciplinary
opportunities, education is never complete today, and in some areas older
mathematicians may make more breakthroughs than in the past because
so much additional knowledge is needed to work at the frontier. For these
reasons, postdoctoral research training may in the future become necessary
for a greater fraction of students, at least in mathematics.
Another significant change in the mathematical sciences over the past
decade and more has been the establishment of additional mathematical
science institutes and their greater influence on the discipline and com-
munity. These institutes now play an important role in helping math-
ematical scientists at various career stages learn new areas and nucleate
new collaborations. Some of the institutes create linkages between the
mathematical sciences and other fields, and some have important roles
to play in outreach to industry and the general public. Their collective
impact in changing and broadening the culture of the mathematical sci-
ences has been enormous.
A third important trend is the rise of new modes of scholarly com-
munication based on the Internet. While face-to-face meetings between
mathematical scientists remain an essential mode of communication, it now
is easy for mathematical scientists to collaborate with researchers across
the world. However, new modes of collaboration and “publishing” will
call for adjustments in the ways quality control is effected and professional
accomplishments are measured.

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SUMMARY 9
The committee is concerned also about preserving the long-term ac-
cessibility of the results of mathematical research while new modes of
interaction via the Internet are evolving. For example, public archives such
as arXiv play a valuable role, but their long-term financial viability is far
from assured and they are not used as universally as they might be. The
mathematical sciences community as a whole, through its professional
organi ations, needs to formulate a strategy for optimizing accessibility, and
z
NSF could take the lead in catalyzing and supporting this effort.
A final trend is the ubiquity of computing throughout science and
engineering, a trend that began decades ago and escalated in the 1990s.
Scientific computing has grown to be an area of study in its own right, but
often it is not pursued in a unified way at academic institutions, instead
existing in small clusters scattered in a variety of science and engineering
departments. Mathematical sciences departments should play a role in see-
ing that there is a central home for computational research and education
at their institutions. Beyond this, because computation is often the means
by which the mathematical sciences are applied in other fields and is also
the driver of many new applications of the mathematical sciences, it is
important that most mathematical scientists have a basic understanding
of it. Academic departments may consider seminars or other processes to
make it easy for mathematical scientists to learn about the rapidly evolving
frontiers of computation. Because the nature and scope of computation are
continually changing, a mechanism is needed to ensure that mathematical
sciences researchers have access to computing power at an appropriate
scale. NSF/DMS should consider instituting programs to ensure that re-
searchers have access to state-of-the art computing power.
PEOPLE IN THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
The expansion of research opportunities in the mathematical sciences
necessitates changes in the way students are prepared and a plan for how
to attract more talented young people into the discipline. The demand
for people with strong mathematical science skills is already growing and
will probably grow even more as the range of positions that require math-
ematical skills expands. While these positions can often be filled by people
with other postsecondary degrees, all of these individuals will need strong
mathematical science skills. Because mathematical science educators have a
responsibility to prepare students from many disciplines for a broad range
of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, this
expansion of opportunities has clear implications for the mathematical sci-
ence community.
The mathematical sciences community has a critical role in educating a
broad range of students. Some will exhibit a special talent in mathematics

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10 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
from a young age, but there are many more whose interest in the math-
ematical sciences arises later and perhaps through nontraditional pathways,
and these latter students constitute a valuable pool of potential majors and
graduate students. A third cadre consists of students from other STEM
disciplines who need a strong mathematical sciences education. All three
categories of students need expert guidance and mentoring from successful
mathematical scientists, and their needs are not identical. The mathematical
sciences must successfully attract and serve all of them.
It is critical that the mathematical sciences community actively engage
with STEM discussions going on outside their own community and not be
marginalized in efforts to improve STEM education, especially since the
r
esults of those efforts would greatly affect the responsibilities of math-
ematics and statistics faculty members. The need to create a truly compel-
ling menu of creatively taught lower-division courses in the mathematical
sciences tailored to the needs of twenty-first century students is pressing,
and partnerships with mathematics-intensive disciplines in designing such
courses are eminently worth pursuing. The traditional lecture-homework-
exam format that often prevails in lower-division mathematics courses
would benefit from a reexamination. A large and growing body of research
indicates that STEM education can be substantially improved through
a diversification of teaching methods. Change is unquestionably coming
to lower-division undergraduate mathematics, and it is incumbent on the
mathematical sciences community to ensure that it is at the center of these
changes and not at the periphery.
Mathematical sciences curricula need attention. The educational offer
ings of typical departments in the mathematical sciences have not kept pace
with the large and rapid changes in how the mathematical sciences are
used in science, engineering, medicine, finance, social science, and society
at large. This diversification entails a need for new courses, new majors,
new programs, and new educational partnerships with those in other disci-
plines, both inside and outside universities. New educational pathways for
training in the mathematical sciences need to be created—for students in
mathematical sciences departments, for those pursuing degrees in science,
medicine, engineering, business, and social science, and for those already in
the workforce needing additional quantitative skills. New credentials such
as professional master’s degrees may be needed by those about to enter the
workforce or already in it. The trend toward periodic acquisition of new
job skills by those already in the workforce provides an opportunity for the
mathematical sciences to serve new needs.
Most mathematics departments still tend to use calculus as the gateway
to higher-level coursework, and that is not appropriate for many students.
Although there is a very long history of discussion about this issue, the need
for a serious reexamination is real, driven by changes in how the mathemat-

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SUMMARY 11
ical sciences are being used. Different pathways are needed for students who
may go on to work in bioinformatics, ecology, medicine, computing, and
so on. It is not enough to rearrange existing courses to create alternative
curricula; a redesigned offering of courses and majors is needed. Although
there are promising experiments, a community-wide effort is needed in the
mathematical sciences to make its undergraduate courses more compelling
to students and better aligned with the needs of user departments.
At the graduate level, many students will end up not with traditional
academic jobs but with jobs where they are expected to deal with prob-
lems much less well formulated than those in the academic setting. They
must bring their mathematical sciences talent and sophistication to bear on
ill-posed problems so as to contribute to their solution. This suggests that
graduate education in the mathematical sciences needs to be rethought in
light of the changing landscape in which students may now work. At the
least, mathematics and statistics departments should take steps to ensure
that their graduate students have a broad and up-to-date understanding of
the expansive reach of the mathematical sciences.
Recommendation: Mathematics and statistics departments, in concert
with their university administrations, should engage in a deep rethink-
ing of the different types of students they are attracting and wish to
a
ttract, and should identify the top priorities for educating these stu-
dents. This should be done for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D.-level
curricula. In some cases, this rethinking should be carried out in con-
sultation with faculty from other relevant disciplines.
Recommendation: In order to motivate students and show the full value
of the material, it is essential that educators explain to their K-12 and
undergraduate students how the mathematical science topics they are
teaching are used and the careers that make use of them. Modest steps
in this direction could lead to greater success in attracting and retaining
students in mathematical sciences courses. Graduate students should
be taught about the uses of the mathematical sciences so that they can
pass this information along to students when they become faculty mem-
bers. Mathematical science professional societies and funding agencies
should play a role in developing programs to give faculty members the
tools to teach in this way.
The community collectively does not do a good job in its interface
with the general public or even with the broader scientific community,
and improving this would contribute to the goal of broadening the STEM
pipeline.

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12 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
Recommendation: More professional mathematical scientists should
become involved in explaining the nature of the mathematical sciences
enterprise and its extraordinary impact on society. Academic depart-
ments should find ways to reward such work. Professional societies
should expand existing efforts and work with funding entities to create
an organizational structure whose goal is to publicize advances in the
mathematical sciences.
The market for mathematical sciences talent is now global, and the
United States is in danger of losing its global preeminence in the discipline.
Other nations are aggressively recruiting U.S.-educated mathematical scien-
tists, especially those who were born in those nations. Whereas for decades
the United States has been attracting the best of the world’s mathematical
scientists, a reverse brain drain is now a real threat. The policy of en-
couraging the growth of the U.S.-born mathematical sciences talent pool
should continue, but it needs to be supplemented by programs to attract
and retain mathematical scientists from around the world, beginning in
graduate school and continuing through an expedited visa process for those
with strong credentials in the mathematical sciences who seek to establish
permanent residence.
The underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities in mathe
matics has been a persistent problem for the field. As white males become
a smaller fraction of the population, it is even more essential that the
mathematical sciences become more successful at attracting and retaining
students from across the totality of the population. While there has been
progress in the last 10-20 years, the fraction of women and minorities in
the mathematical sciences drops with each step up the career ladder. A large
number of approaches have been tried to counter this decline, and many
appear to be helpful, but this problem still needs attention, and there is no
quick solution.
Recommendation: Every academic department in the mathematical sci-
ences should explicitly incorporate recruitment and retention of women
and underrepresented groups into the responsibilities of the faculty
members in charge of the undergraduate program, graduate program,
and faculty hiring and promotion. Resources need to be provided to
enable departments to adopt, monitor, and adapt successful recruiting
and mentoring programs that have been pioneered at other schools and
to find and correct any disincentives that may exist in the department.
While the mathematical sciences enterprise has tremendous responsi-
bilities for educating students across the range of STEM fields, it must also,
of course, replenish itself. One successful way to strengthen that part of

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SUMMARY 13
the pipeline—of students with strong talents in the mathematical sciences
per se—has been focused outreach to precollege students via mechanisms
such as Math Circles.
Recommendation: The federal government should establish a national
program to provide extended enrichment opportunities for students
with unusual talent in the mathematical sciences. The program would
fund activities to help those students develop their talents and enhance
the likelihood of their pursuing careers in the mathematical sciences.
STRESSES ON THE HORIZON
Mathematical science departments, particularly those in large state uni-
versities, have a tradition of teaching service courses for nonmajors. These
courses, especially the large lower-division ones, help to fund positions for
mathematical scientists at all levels, but especially for junior faculty and
graduate teaching assistants. But now the desire to reduce costs is pushing
students to take some of their lower-division studies at state and community
colleges. It is also leading university administrations to hire a second tier
of adjunct instructors with greater teaching loads, reduced expectations of
research productivity, and lower salaries, or to implement a series of online
courses that can be taught with less ongoing faculty involvement. While
these trends have been observed for a decade or more, current financial
pressures may increase pressure to shift more teaching responsibilities in
these ways.
The committee foresees a more difficult period for the mathematical
sciences on the horizon because of this changing business model for uni-
versities. Because of their important role in teaching service courses, the
mathematical sciences will be disproportionately affected by these changes.
However, while there may be less demand for lower-division teaching,
there may be expanded opportunities to train students from other disci-
plines and people already in the workforce. Mathematical scientists should
work proactively—through funding agencies, university administrations,
professional societies, and within their departments—to be ready for these
changes.
Some educators are experimenting with lower-cost ways of providing
education, such as Web-based courses that put much more burden on the
students, thereby allowing individual professors to serve larger numbers of
students. Some massive online open courses (MOOCs) with mathemati-
cal content have already proven to be tremendously popular, and this will
only increase the interest in experimenting with this modality. While online
education in the mathematical sciences is a work in progress, effective ways
to deliver this material at a level of quality comparable to large university

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14 THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES IN 2025
lecture classes most likely will be found. It is strongly in the interests of
mathematical scientists to be involved in initiatives for online education,
which will otherwise happen in a less-than-optimal way.
Recommendation: Academic departments in mathematics and statistics
should begin the process of rethinking and adapting their programs to
keep pace with the evolving academic environment, and be sure they
have a seat at the table as online content and other innovations in the
delivery of mathematical science coursework are created. The profes-
sional societies have important roles to play in mobilizing the com-
munity in these matters, through mechanisms such as opinion articles,
online discussion groups, policy monitoring, and conferences.