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 foundation 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 mathematical 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 applications but rather over the long term as the subject grows and retains its vitality. From this ever-increasing store of fundamental theoretical knowledge 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 everyday life. Internet search, medical imaging, computer animation, numerical weather predictions and other computer simulations, digital communications 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 integral 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 application. 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 stature 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 effort 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