February 10, 2009
Math Awareness Month is only a few months away. Initiated in 1986 to increase public understanding of, and appreciation for, mathematics, this annual event highlights the relevance of mathematics to a particular area of scientific endeavor.
This year, the MAA, American Mathematical Society (AMS), Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and American Statistical Association (ASA) have jointly proclaimed that the theme of Mathematics Awareness Month—April 2009—shall be "Mathematics and Climate."
The event puts the spotlight on mathematical aspects of various climate-related issues: How long will the summer Arctic sea ice pack survive? Are hurricanes and other severe weather events getting stronger? How much will sea levels rise as ice sheets melt? How do human activities affect climate change? How is global climate monitored? Calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis, probability, statistics, and other areas of mathematics play key roles in answers to these questions and in helping scientists better understand oceans, the atmosphere, and polar ice caps, as well as their complex interrelationships and interactions.
Organizers of and contributors to this year's theme include Inez Fung (University of California, Berkeley), Jay Zwally (NASA), Kerry Emanuel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Margot Gerritsen (Stanford University), Mary Lou Zeeman (Bowdoin College), David Holland (New York University), David Neelin (University of California, Los Angeles), and Kenneth Golden (University of Utah).
Look for the 2009 poster highlighting this year's theme. Get set for workshops, competitions, exhibits, festivals, lectures, and symposia sponsored by college and university mathematics and science departments, public information offices, student groups, and related associations and interest groups.
Over the last quarter century, Mathematics Awareness Month (from 1986-1999 it was merely Mathematics Awareness Week) has spanned the scientific arena. Topics have included voting (2008), the brain (2007), Internet security, the cosmos, networks, art, the genome, the ocean, dimensions, biology, imaging, the Internet, decision making, symmetry, medicine, manufacturing, and the environment.
In 2010, the topic of Math Awareness Month will be "Mathematics and Sports."
Source: Math Awareness Month.