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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences C Partial Chronology of Previous Efforts to Strengthen Mathematics and Cross-Disciplinary Research 1981 Research Institutes The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at the University of California-Berkeley and the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications at the University of Minnesota are created with NSF support, intensifying NSF's emphasis on infrastructure for mathematical research and opportunities for mathematics to influence scientific disciplines and industrial activities. 1981 The David Committee The NRC establishes a committee, chaired by Edward E. David, Jr., of scientists and engineers to review the health of and support for research in the mathematical sciences in the United States. 1983 The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics The American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) create a nine-member joint executive action arm, the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM), to begin implementing the recommendations of the David Committee. The JPBM emphasizes unity across the discipline. 1984 Renewing U.S. Mathematics: Critical Resource for the Future (NRC, 1984) The 1984 David Report highlights the development of mathematics and its uses since World War II and calls attention to the following serious signs of trouble: (1) an impending shortage of U.S. mathematicians and (2) a marked imbalance between federal support of mathematical sciences research and support for related fields of science and engineering. Based on a careful analysis, it calls for more than doubling the FY 1984 federal support level for mathematical sciences and lays out a 10-year implementation plan, with specific roles for government, universities, and the mathematical sciences community. The report recognizes that the research community for mathematical sciences has changed in two important ways: (1) common research endeavors have blurred the boundaries of the major disciplines and (2) mathematics is increasingly looking outward, toward its interaction with science and technology. The report specifically recommends that “ . . . departments should give increased recognition to faculty . . . who interact with collaborators from other disciplines.” 1984 The Board on Mathematical Sciences In December 1984, the NRC establishes the Board on Mathematical Sciences (BMS). It does this to provide a focus for concern at the NRC about issues affecting the mathematical sciences, to provide objective advice to federal agencies, and to identify promising areas of mathematics research along with suggested mechanisms for pursuing them. NOTE: Entries to 1990 draw largely on the list in NRC (1990), pp. 33–36.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences 1985 The Mathematical Sciences Education Board At the urging of the mathematical sciences community, the NRC establishes the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) to provide “a continuing national assessment capability for mathematics education” from kindergarten through college. A 34-member board is appointed that is a unique working coalition of classroom teachers, college and university mathematicians, mathematics supervisors and administrators, members of school boards and parent organizations, and representatives of business and industry. This step reflects another of the basic recommendations of the David Committee: strong involvement of all sectors of the mathematical sciences community in issues of precollege education. 1986 Board on Mathematical Sciences' Science and Technology Week Symposium This was the first of a series of annual symposia highlighting the role of mathematical sciences research in the sciences and engineering for an audience of scientists and policy makers. 1987 Project MS 2000 At the urging of JPBM and under the supervision of the BMS and MSEB, the NRC launches a comprehensive review of the college and university mathematics enterprise through the Mathematical Sciences in the Year 2000 (MS 2000) project. 1987 Science and Technology Centers: Principles and Guidelines. A Report by the Panel on Science and Technology Centers (NRC, 1987) This NRC panel recommends that the primary goal of a proposed program of science and technology centers should be to exploit science where the complexity of the research problems or the resources needed to solve them require the advantages of scale and duration, or where facilities can be provided only by a centralized mode of research. The principal criterion used for evaluating proposals would be the scientific quality of the research. The panel cautions that interdisciplinary research, although essential for the solution of many problems, should be pursued only when there is a demonstrated need or opportunity. An initiative is launched by NSF to support important basic research and education activities and to encourage technology transfer and innovative approaches to interdisciplinary problems, by establishing centers devoted to critical areas of science and technology. 1988 Cross-Disciplinary Research in the Statistical Sciences: Report of a Panel of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS, 1988) An influential report assesses the status of cross-disciplinary statistical research and makes recommendations for the future. Two principles endorsed by the panel are that (1) advances in substantive knowledge and in statistical theory are virtually inseparable and (2) the continued health of statistics strongly depends on research stimulated by and directed at problems in many other disciplines. Believing that “a continuing effort is required to monitor the health of cross-disciplinary statistical research,” the panel recommended that the NRC, through its Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics and its Committee on National Statistics, undertake this effort. Finding that “constrained resources and the existing infrastructure within the government, academia, and industry thwart the growth and development of needed cross-disciplinary research,” the panel recommended that an institute for statistical sciences be established—a recommendation that led to the establishment of the National Institute of Statistical Science.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences 1988 Removing the Boundaries: Perspectives on Cross-Disciplinary Research (Sigma Xi, 1988) This Sigma Xi report explores the issue of multidisciplinary science and mathematical science, describing the trend toward boundary-breaking research. 1990 Renewing U.S. Mathematics: A Plan for the 1990s (NRC, 1990) This report, which is a 5-year update of the 1984 David Report, describes emerging research opportunities and new challenges for government, universities, and the mathematical sciences community to continue to renew U.S. mathematics. It notes that collaborating with other disciplines will help the mathematical sciences become increasingly robust and valuable. 1990 Interdisciplinary Research: Promoting Collaboration Between the Life Sciences and Medicine and the Physical Sciences and Engineering (NRC/IOM, 1990) Addressing the growing and urgent need to create mechanisms within universities, government, and industry to facilitate a flow of knowledge and researchers across the interfaces of the physical/engineering/mathematical sciences and the life/medical sciences, this IOM/NRC report endorses actions to reduce or remove obstacles to fruitful collaborative research across traditional disciplines. The report targets six critical elements in promoting research collaboration: (1) administration and institutional support, (2) availability of adequate funding, (3) open communication and collegiality, (4) overlapping educational experience, (5) availability of collaborators, and (6) opportunities for practical application and technology transfer. 1991 Mathematical Sciences, Technology, and Economic Competitiveness (NRC, 1991 a) Addressed to members of the mathematics community, corporate decision makers, and policy makers, this NRC report documents the importance of quantitative reasoning, supported by computational and mathematical models, to all aspects of the complete product cycle and to the economic competitiveness of U.S. industry. 1991 Mathematical Foundations of High-Performance Computing and Communications (NRC, 1991b) This NRC report examines the elements of the federal government's high-performance computing and communications (HPCC) program and explicitly identifies the role of the mathematical sciences community in that effort and in the “grand challenges” of computational science. Two primary conclusions are that (1) the goals of the HPCC program cannot be met—and progress in solving grand challenge problems cannot continue—without active involvement of the mathematical sciences research community and (2) research and education relative to HPCC and grand challenge problems must link a broad range of sciences, the mathematical sciences, and computational sciences. Multidisciplinary settings offer the best chance for success. 1993 Mathematical Research in Materials Science: Opportunities and Perspectives (NRC, 1993) This NRC report identifies research opportunities at the interface between materials science and the mathematical sciences and recommends ways of overcoming cultural and other obstacles to pursuing such research.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences 1993 Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era (NAS, NAE, IOM, 1993) The NAS Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy report proposes a new covenant between science, technology, and society, which includes the condition that the funders of research allow interdisciplinary research to succeed by removing barriers to emerging areas of research and by encouraging institutional structures that enable the flow of interdisciplinary opportunities. 1994 Recognition and Rewards in the Mathematical Sciences (AMS, 1994) This JPBM report finds that the current reward structure tends to discourage researchers who wish to cross-disciplinary boundaries. The report encourages the mathematical sciences community to value a number of activities, including outreach activities and interdisciplinary pursuits. 1994 Modern Interdisciplinary University Statistics Education: Proceedings of a Symposium (NRC, 1994) The NRC Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics publishes this collection of discussions and presentations from a 1993 symposium to initiate a process of long-overdue change in upper-undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education for statisticians and to stimulate the incorporation of interdisciplinary experience and realistic apprenticing in the nation's programs for statistical science majors, advanced-degree candidates, and postdoctoral students. 1995 The SIAM Report on Mathematics in Industry (SIAM, 1995) The first phase of the Mathematics in Industry study, sponsored by NSF and the National Security Agency, characterizes the working environment of nonacademic mathematical sciences; summarizes the views of nonacademic mathematical scientists and managers on the skills needed for success and the training provided by a traditional graduate education; and suggests strategies for enhancing graduate education in mathematical sciences, nonacademic career opportunities, and application of mathematical sciences to nonacademic environments. Acknowledging the overwhelming interdisciplinary nature of the nonacademic research environment, the report identifies important traits in nonacademic mathematical scientists, which include interest in, knowledge of, and flexibility across applications; communication skills; and adeptness at working with colleagues, including those having expertise outside mathematical sciences. 1995 Mathematical Challenges from Theoretical/Computational Chemistry (NRC, 1995) This NRC report finds that the needs of the theoretical/computational chemistry community create opportunities for synergistic research with almost the entire mathematical sciences community. The report describes prior fruitful collaborations, identifies some areas for potential interaction, and finds that active encouragement of further collaborations is likely to accelerate research progress. 1996 Modeling Biological Systems: A Workshop (NSF, 1996) This NSF-funded report of a workshop discusses areas of opportunity for future research and means by which enhanced opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and training involving
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences biological and mathematical scientists can be promoted. The report complements the more exhaustive report Mathematics and Biology: The Interface—Challenges and Opportunities, published by NSF in 1992. 1997 Preserving Strength While Meeting Challenges: Summary Report of a Workshop on Actions for the Mathematical Sciences (NRC, 1997) This NRC report highlights critical issues, including the need to enhance connections with other disciplines and rethink faculty evaluation in ways that may include adopting tenure and promotion criteria that reward interdisciplinary efforts. 1997 International Benchmarking of U.S. Mathematics Research (NAS, NAE, IOM, 1997) The NAS Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy assessment finds that U.S. mathematics is thriving and that its ties with other sciences and engineering are growing and deepening, but notes several critical issues—including the increasing demand for interdisciplinary research—that need be taken seriously. 1997 Organizing for Research and Development in the 21st Century: An Integrated Perspective of Academic, Industrial, and Government Researchers (Eisenberger et al., 1997) This NSF-and DOE-funded report identifies barriers to cross-disciplinary research and makes recommendations for alleviating them. Barriers to cross-disciplinary research include tenure difficulties for junior faculty and the organization of resources along departmental lines within universities. The report recommends that funding sources continue to invest in high-risk, high-payoff research, and since many of these opportunities lie within the scope of cross-disciplinary research, both funding agencies and departments will need to be flexible to accommodate them. 1998 Report of the Senior Assessment Panel of the International Assessment of the U.S. Mathematical Sciences (NSF, 1998) This NSF-sponsored report finds the state of U.S. mathematics to be preeminent but fragile. Academic mathematics is insufficiently connected to mathematics outside the university or to other disciplines. The panel notes that the structure of universities and the narrow vision of mathematics within mathematics departments militates against multidisciplinary research. Given that scientific problems of the future will be extremely complex and will require collaborative mathematical modeling, simulation, and visualization, the report encourages funding agencies to provide financial support that recognizes and rewards multidisciplinary activities and to recognize the long time required to become competent in that work. 1998 Strengthening Health Research in America: Philanthropy's Role (American Cancer Society et al., 1998) This report of a workshop sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Pew Charitable Trusts identifies new and important areas of research for foundations to sponsor alone, in partnership with each other, and with other research entities to creatively stimulate the entire health services research environment. Among the new and important areas of research are those at the interface between the sciences, such as between biology and social science or biology and mathematics. The report
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences claims that multidisciplinary research may be critical to the success of academic health centers, now experiencing financial strains. 1998 Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy (U.S. Congress, House, 1998) Vice Chairman Ehlers' Report to the House Committee on Science recommends that Congress make stable and substantial federal funding for fundamental science research a high priority. Noting that the practice of science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and that progress in one discipline is often propelled by advances in other, seemingly unrelated fields, the report recommends that the federal government fund basic research in a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, mathematical sciences, and engineering and that it resist concentrating funds in a particular discipline. 1998 DOE/NSF Initiative on Computational Science DOE and NSF cosponsor seven workshops to establish the scientific basis of a multi-million-dollar initiative involving cross-disciplinary research. The main goal is to identify opportunities, benefits, common needs, and barriers for the computational techniques needed to advance areas of science from medicine to geophysics. The areas considered by national and international experts are applied mathematics and computer science techniques, data analysis and management, simulation and modeling, nonlinear complex phenomena, geochemistry large quantum mechanical systems, and materials and geophysics. The plan is to take the results of these workshops and shape them into an action plan that will maximize the impact of a national investment in applications of computers and associated mathematical science to the solution of major problems in science, medicine, and the environment. 1998 The Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits Workshop Report and Recommendations (NIH, 1998a) and New Approaches to the Study of Complex Biological Processes Workshop Report (NIH, 1998b) The first of these two NIH workshops focuses on means of increasing the rate of progress and improving the quality of research on the analysis of complex traits. The second workshop, originally titled “Biological Systems Analysis,” was designed to provide the National Institute of General Medical Sciences with a perspective on the emergence of new conceptual and experimental approaches to the study of complex processes such as genetic circuitry, metabolic regulation, and macromolecular assembly. The participants in these workshops recommended three classes of initiatives: (1) the support of cross-disciplinary research with the specific objective of attracting investigators trained in the mathematically based disciplines (physics, engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, and chemistry) to the study of biomedical problems, (2) the development of workshops and other vehicles to train established biomedical scientists in new, quantitative approaches to their fields of study and, reciprocally, to acquaint established, mathematically expert nonbiologists with biological problems, and (3) the promotion of interdisciplinary training for scientists and researchers at the pre- and postdoctoral levels. The resulting programs begun at NIH, such as Quantitative Approaches to Complex Biological Problems, are discussed in Appendix D.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences 1999 Towards Excellence: Leading a Mathematics Department in the 21st Century (AMS, 1999) This AMS Task Force report concludes that to remain strong and maintain their quality, mathematics departments must, among other things, build strong relationships with other departments on campus. The Task Force found that mathematics departments generally had a reputation for being too insular, and deans viewed this as a problem for both the teaching and the research mission of the department and the university. REFERENCES American Cancer Society, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. 1998. Strengthening Health Research in America: Philanthropy's Role. Available at <http://www.pewtrusts.com/pubs/publications.cfm>. American Mathematical Society (AMS), Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. 1994. Recognition and Rewards in the Mathematical Sciences. Washington, D.C.: AMS. American Mathematical Society, Task Force on Excellence. 1999. Towards Excellence: Leading a Mathematics Department in the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: AMS. Available at <http://www.ams.org/towardsexcellence/>. Eisenberger, P.M., A.R. Faust, and M. Knotek, eds. 1997. Organizing for Research and Development in the 21st Century: An Integrated Perspective of Academic, Industrial, and Government Researchers. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Materials Institute. Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). 1988. Cross-Disciplinary Research in the Statistical Sciences. Available at <http://www.niss.org/reports/crossd2.html>. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM), Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. 1993. Science, Technology, and the Federal Government: National Goals for a New Era. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1997. International Benchmarking of U.S. Mathematics Research. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 1998a. The Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits Workshop Report and Recommendations. Available at <http://www.nih.gov/nigms/news/reports/genetic_arch.html>. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 1998b. New Approaches to the Study of Complex Biological Processes Workshop Report. Available at <http://www.nih.gov/nigms/news/reports/complexbio.html>.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences National Research Council. 1984. Renewing U.S. Mathematics: Critical Resource for the Future. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press National Research Council. 1987. Science and Technology Centers: Principles and Guidelines. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1990. Renewing U.S. Mathematics: A Plan for the 1990s. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1991a. Mathematical Sciences, Technology, and Economic Competitiveness. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1991b. Mathematical Foundations of High-Performance Computing and Communications. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1993. Mathematical Research in Materials Science: Opportunities and Perspectives. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1994. Modern Interdisciplinary University Statistics Education: Proceedings of a Symposium. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1995. Mathematical Challenges from Theoretical/Computational Chemistry. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council. 1997. Preserving Strength While Meeting Challenges: Summary Report of a Workshop on Actions for the Mathematical Sciences. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1990. Interdisciplinary Research: Promoting Collaboration Between the Life Sciences and Medicine and the Physical Sciences and Engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Science Foundation (NSF). 1996. Modeling Biological Systems: A Workshop. Available at <http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/mobs/stmobs.htm>. National Science Foundation (NSF). 1998. Report of the Senior Assessment Panel of the International Assessment of the U.S. Mathematical Sciences. NSF9895. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation. Sigma Xi. 1988. Removing the Boundaries: Perspectives on Cross-Disciplinary Research. Research Triangle Park, N.C.: Sigma Xi Publications. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). 1995. The SIAM Report on Mathematics in Industry. Philadelphia, Pa.: SIAM.
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Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Science. 1998. Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy. Available at <http://www.house.gov/science/science_policy_study.htm>.
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