Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machineread text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapterrepresentative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter.
Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 11
~ Background and Introduction
THE SITUATION IN 1984
In the early 1980s the Office of Mathematical Sciences of the National
Research Council (NRC), chaired by William Browder, presented to
the Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the NRC star
tling evidence suggesting the deterioration of federal support for
mathematical sciences2 research in the United States. Because of the
critical dependence of science and technology on continued genera
tion of new mathematical methods and concepts, the Ad Hoc Commit
tee on Resources for the Mathematical Sciences was established by the
NRC to review the health and support of the field. This panel of
scientists, engineers, and mathematicians was asked in particular to
determine whether federal and/or university support had in fact dete
riorated and, if so, how this had come about and what should be Lone
about it to provide for the future health of the discipline.
After three years of investigation and analysis, the ad hoc committee
presented its findings and recommendations in Renewing U.S. Mathe
matics: Critical Resource for the Future (the "David Report"; National
Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1984), referred to herein as the
1984 Report. It told a story that was deeply disturbing to both practi
tioners and policymakers in science:
.
Federal support for mathematical sciences research had come to be
markedly out of balance with support for related fields of science and engi
neering. Discrepancies in support for essential research needs were very
large. The 1984 Report summarized that committee's estimate of the
11
OCR for page 11
RENEWING U.S. MATHEMATICS
number of funded senior investigators needed in the mathematical
sciences as follows (p. 64~:
Apply to the mathematics faculty the lowest percentage for those with federal
support in other fields, 54% [from a 1980 National Science Foundation report].
One obtains 2400 as a base figure for the number of mathematicians to sup
port. The mathematical sciences faculty is 1.3 times the size of that in mathe
matics, suggesting that . . . 3100 is about right for the number of mathematical
science faculty members on grants. From this, subtract 400 young investiga
tors (Ph.D. age three to five years), to obtain 2700 as an appropriate number of
established investigators.... Guido Weiss of our Committee surveyed chair
men of mathematical science departments nationally, asking them to examine
their faculties and judge how many researchers without support were doing
research of the quality done by those with support. Extrapolation from the
responses led to the estimate 26002900 for the total of "supported" plus "equally
qualified." . . . we adopt 2600 as the threshold level for the number of estab
lished investigators to support.
Goals given in the 1984 Report for other categories of support were
estimates of the numbers of young people needed at each stage in the
mathematical sciences pipeline in order to replenish this necessary
core of 2600 senior researchers at the rate of some 100 per year.
· This situation had come about through a combination of (1) abrupt
losses of support for mathematics in the fiveyear period from 1968 to 1973
caused by shifts in federal policy ¢e.g., the Mansfield Amendment, fellowship
cutbacks), and (2) steady deterioration of support over the decade 1973 to
1983, during which the growth of computer science as a discipline and
the practice of lumping this field together with mathematics in aggre
gate federal research data masked the deterioration of funding for the
mathematical sciences.
.
The infrastructure supporting the mathematical research enterprise
had beer seriously weakened, especially in university mathematical sci
ences departments, which contained 90% of the mathematical research
ers, with the result that the field was in serious danger of being unable
to renew itself.
.
This weakening had also gone largely unnoticed, for two closely
related reasons: (1) the mathematical sciences community did not bring
its growing problems to the attention of the broader scientific commu
nity until the early 1980s; and (2) the spectacular performance of Ameri
can mathematics, which had risen to a position of world leadership in
the decades immediately following World War II, continued unabated
12
OCR for page 11
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
Physical
sciences
Life
sciences

32% \
70%
52%
22% \
~°,
72%)
_
13% ~
//^
~15%~
~ is/?
6% 
69%
i,
All fields

59%
16%
~athemadcal
and computer
sciences
E. .
nglneenng
 Federally 1//~1 Other I I Non
~ponsored r'~JI sponsored I I sponsored
FIGURE 1.1 Research time in universities, November 1978 to October 1979.
SOURCE: From National Science Foundation Report 81323, reprinted from Na
tional Research Council, Renewing U.S. Mathematics: Critical Resource for the Future (Na
tional Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 32.
throughout the 1970s, relying heavily on creative talent developed
and incorporated into the field before the deterioration began to take
its toll.
The conclusions of the 1984 Report were supported by data such as
that given in Figures 1.1 and 1.2 and in Table 1.1, which are reprinted
here from that report. These data document the imbalances in support
experienced at that time by the U.S. university mathematics sector.
13
OCR for page 11
RENEWING U.S. MATHEMATICS
Then, as now, the academic research communities of mathematics,
chemistry, and physics were of comparable size. However, the num
bers of active mathematical scientists and trainees who were sup
ported' and thus encouraged to perform or learn to perform research,
were strikingly out of balance with the numbers supported in chemis
try and in physics. The low ratios of graduate research assistants per
mathematical researcher and postdoctoral researchers per mathemati
cal researcher pointed to a great many missed opportunities for better
training of young people.
In fact, there were so few research grants in mathematics that many
qualified researchers were without support, while the level of support
for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers was so low that
the mathematics Ph.D. pipeline suffered both in quality and quantity.
There was clear evidence that the field was not renewing itself and
therefore legitimate concern that research progress would diminish in
the future. The prospect of becoming a professional mathematician
had begun to look less and less inviting to students.
4,500
4,000
3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
,500
,000
500
O l
14
1980
1975
~ l
_  _
~ ¢
_
Chemistry Physics Materials
science
ONonfederally supported
Supported by NSF
03 Supported by other
federal agencies
= .
....~..§, ., .
_ ,,i
_~', ~ .
.. _ _. _
Computer Mathematics
science
FIGURE 1.2 Graduate students with research assistantships enrolled fulltime in doc
torategranting institutions, mathematical and physical sciences.
SOURCE: From National Science Foundation Report 82260, reprinted from Na
tional Research Council, Renewing U.S. Mathematics: Critical Resource for the Future
(National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 33.
OCR for page 11
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
TABLE 1.1 Postdoctorals in Graduate Institutions, 1981
Federally NonFederally
Total Supported Supported
Chemistry 2870 2465 405
Physics 1450 1217 233
Mathematical
Sciences. 99 56 43
This number excludes about 75 universitysponsored "research
instructors" in mathematics.
SOURCE: National Science Foundation; reprinted from National
Research Council, Renewing U.S. Mathematics: Critical Resource for the
Future (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 33.
This situation developed during the 1970s, largely due to causes
mentioned above. Rather than arguing for increasing Ph.D. produc
tion and hiring, mathematical sciences departments adapted to in
creased teaching responsibilities by expanding the use of graduate
teaching assistants, thus freeing up some faculty time for research, but
at the expense of providing quality research training for those enter
ing the field.
The noteworthy productivity of mathematics researchers in 1984, as
now, was at least partly due to a trio of singular events: the emer
gence of mathematics tools from World War II, the postSputnik alarms,
and the ongoing expansion of the field as computer use widened the
demand for mathematics. As the first two of those stimuli fade, the
intellectual momentum they sparked is certain to run out. Just as
today's mathematicians are prolific due in part to events and support
levels of decades ago, tomorrow's mathematics will suffer because of
the more recent underfunding and concomitant fading of career op
portunities.
IMBALANCE IN SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH
The interdisciplinary committee that wrote the 1984 Report quickly
realized that problems resulting from insufficient research support for
U.S. mathematical sciences were so severe that they threatened the
entire scientific enterprise. Due to the enormous disparity in the
number of people supported in the mathematical sciences visavis
other sciences and engineering, the overall science and technology
base was in poor balance, thus threatening its effectiveness. Revers
15
OCR for page 11
RENEWING U.S. MATHEMATICS
ing the underfunding of the mathematical sciences was therefore
necessary as much to restore a healthy balance to the overall scientific
enterprise as to assure a healthy mathematics research capability. The
1984 committee concludecl that the extreme imbalance in the numbers
of junior people involved in research, while partly attributable to the
differing needs of laboratory and nonlaboratory fields, nonetheless
indicated a distinct shortcoming in mathematical sciences researcher
training. Without attempting to define "ideal" balance, that group
was able to make recommendations for levels of supported research
designed to restore balance. The actions of the mathematical sciences
community and the federal funding agencies in response to the 1984
Report make it clear that they have accepted the conclusions that an
imbalance existed and needed to be countered.
Balance does not necessarily imply funding parity, nor the achieve
ment of equity between fields; rather, it implies supporting each field
of science to whatever degree is required to keep it and the totality of
science functioning efficiently. The 1984 committee saw the science
and engineering disciplines as an ecosystem: while the components
have different needs and roles, they must all function in a balanced
way for the system as a whole to thrive.
The present committee agrees with this analysis and believes that
elimination of the imbalance documented clearly in the 1984 Report—
and still present, as demonstrated by Table B (Executive Summary)
and Tables 2.3 and 2.4 (Chapter 2) of this report is still the most
pressing need of the mathematical sciences as a field. Since the argu
ments and underlying premises of the 1984 Report were widely ac
cepted, the present report does not reargue that case but instead refers
the reader to the Executive Summary of the 1984 Report, reprinted in
this report as Appendix A.
THE 1984 NATIONAL PLAN
The 1984 Report challenged the Administration and the Congress, the
universities, and the mathematical sciences community to implement,
through a decade or more of sustained effort, a national plan for re
newing the mathematical research enterprise in the United States. The
seven principal elements of this 1984 National Plan for Graduate and
Postdoctoral Education in the Mathematical Sciences discussed in
Section IV of Appendix A called for the following:
16
OCR for page 11
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
· Restoring a reasonable degree of balance between federal sup
port for mathematical sciences research and support for related fields
by increasing mathematics support from $79 million to $180 million
ner vear over a fivevear Period (figures in 1984 dollars):
r   ~ i r— ~~~o—~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~
· Restructuring the general pattern of use of resources, once they
were made available to the mathematical sciences, by moving away
from a pattern of small research grants supporting only principal
investigators, which was especially prominent at the National Science
Foundation (NSF), and toward a grants model consistently supporting
graduate students, postdoctorals, and other components of the re
search infrastructure as well.3 Briefly, the 1984 National Plan called
for annual summer support for 2600 senior investigators, 24month
research positions for 200 postdoctorals, 15 months plus two summers
of research support for 1000 graduate students, and 400 research grants
for young investigators. These goals were baser] on the premise that
more young mathematical scientists need thorough training with
mentors.
· Reducing the unusual dependency of the mathematical sciences
on the NSF and the service agencies of the Department of Defense
(DOD) by fostering development of new mathematics programs at
other agencies, especially programs concerned with research having
longterm payoffs;
.
Extending the lines of contact and support outward from the
mathematical sciences departments to business and industry;
· Initiating within research universities indepth reviews of the
health of their mathematical sciences departments, focusing on the
working circumstances of their faculties, the relationship of federal
support to university support, and the widespread university practice
of justifying allocations to mathematics departments solely on the
basis of the department's instructional role;
.
Developing within the mathematical sciences community a
greater sense of responsibility for its own fate and a greater unity of
purpose and action, drawing together professional organizations from
across the varied subdisciplines to act in concert in (1) presenting
regularly to government and universities the research needs of the
field; (2) creating a longterm, coorclinated public information effort
17
OCR for page 11
RENEWING U.S. MATHEMATICS
aimed at increasing understanding of the roles and the importance of
mathematics in science, technology, and culture; and (3) accelerating
the efforts of mathematical scientists to attract brilliant young people
into their field; and finally
· Expanding the mathematical sciences community's commitment
to and involvement in the revitalization of mathematics education,
with special attention to the precollege level.
The present committee reconsidered the 1984 National Plan and deter
mined that its goals remain valid and necessary today.
Complete implementation of the 1984 National Plan would assure the
continued replenishment of the field's personnel base with talented
new scientists. This, in turn, would assure continued intellectual
production by the discipline. This intellectual output is valuable in
itself, contributes substantially to other quantitative fields, provides
the environment necessary for training mathematical scientists and
educators, and when explained well serves as a beacon to draw
students into the mathematical sciences.
THE CURRENT REPORT
Purpose and Emphasis
This report was prepared at the request of the NSF and the Inter
agency Committee for Extramural Mathematics Programs (ICEMAP).
Specifically, this committee was charged to (1) update the 1984 Re
port, describing the infrastructure and support for U.S. mathematical
sciences research; (2) assess trends and progress over the intervening
five years against the recommendations of the 1984 Report; (3) briefly
assess the field scientifically and identify significant opportunities for
research, including crossdisciplinary collaboration; and (4 ~ make
appropriate recommendations designed to ensure that U.S. mathe
matical sciences research will meet national needs in coming years.
While recognizing that many critical issues face the mathematical
sciences—especially demographic and educational ones this report
focuses on university research departments. These are the intellectual
wellsprings of the field and the source of many teachers who set the
pace for educational progress. By so focusing, this report comple
18
OCR for page 11
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
meets other recent and ongoing efforts within the mathematical sci
ences community.4
Definition of the Mathematical Sciences
The discipline known as the mathematical sciences encompasses core
(or pure) and applied mathematics, plus statistics and operations re
search, and extends to highly mathematical areas of other fields such
as theoretical computer science. The theoretical branches of many
other fields for instance, biology, ecology, engineering, economics
merge seamlessly with the mathematical sciences.
This intellectual definition does not correspond exactly to the admin
istrative definitions under which data are collected. Most data in
cluded in this report adhere to the NSF definition of mathematical
sciences, which is somewhat more restrictive than the intellectual
definition given above. By using these data, the committee sought to
maintain continuity with the 1984 Report, being confident that trends
and conclusions would not be skewed by such a small mismatch in the
basis. The research progress reports included in Appendix B were
deliberately chosen to span the broader definition of the field.
NOTES
tThe Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the NRC subsequently
evolved into the newly constituted Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and
Applications.
2See below, section headed "Definition of the Mathematical Sciences."
3The specific issue addressed in this part of the 1984 National Plan was not individ
ual investigators versus group research. Rather it was grants that support only the
research time of principal investigators versus grants that do that and also support
graduate students, postdoctorals, and so on. In the early 1980s the average NSF re
search grant in mathematics supported two months of summer research time for a
principal investigator and little else.
For example, the National Research Council reports Everybody Counts: A Report to
the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education (National Academy Press, Washington,
D.C., 1989) and A Challenge of Numbers: People in the Mathematical Sciences (National
Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1990).
19
OCR for page 11