Recommendations

  1. The evaluation process for promotion and tenure in university mathematics departments should be revised, where needed, to provide a fair assessment of collaborative and/or interdisciplinary research. Furthermore, students and young faculty should be encouraged to seek research opportunities in these areas, rather than discouraged from pursuing such prospects.
  2. Dual mentoring (with both mathematics and physical-science advisors) for Ph.D. programs should be permitted when the research topic lends itself to this strategy.
  3. Establish intra-university faculty exchange programs between mathematics and other departments where prospects for significant interdisciplinary research are perceived. This can take the form of joint seminars, or of internal sabbaticals.
  4. Require more thorough mathematical training for undergraduates in the physical and biological sciences, and in engineering, with emphasis on nontrivial applications. This might include senior seminars on appropriate topics in mathematical physics, mathematical chemistry, mathematical biology, and so forth.
  5. Establish regular contacts between the professional societies representing mathematics and those serving the physical sciences, specifically to explore the prospects for enhancing cross-disciplinary research. An expected outcome would be creation of special symposia and workshops devoted to areas of present and likely future cross-disciplinary activity.
  6. Create one or more awards for mathematicians who have produced original and influential interdisciplinary research. Seeking industrial support for such an award might be reasonable and appropriate.
  7. Editors of mathematics journals should be encouraged to solicit research articles at least occasionally written in a style more accessible to "outsiders." Also, well-written review articles on broad interdisciplinary subjects need to be commissioned, particularly if they concern prospects for new research.
  8. Publicize recent significant mathematics advances to the physical and biological sciences communities, and invite reciprocal action from these communities.
  9. Through popular articles, mathematicians need to explain what kinds of problems, concepts, and activities engage their interest and motivate them, and they should clarify how these attributes may distinguish them from other technical professionals.
  10. Prepare and distribute a guidebook for mathematics students and for prospective employers in government and industry exploring the full range of valuable application areas for mathematics, including specific case histories.
  11. To ameliorate language problems between the disciplines, establish a two-way online glossary of technical terms and acronyms between mathematics, on the one hand, and the physical sciences, on the other hand. It is most appropriate that this be implemented by joint action of the professional societies [see item 5 above].
  12. Take appropriately assertive action to ensure that final recommendations from this workshop are publicized and implemented. This should include presentations at professional society meetings, as well as mailings to department chairs, deans, government agency personnel, and selected congressional staffers.


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