Project Details


This award supports a series of seven workshops and their follow-on activities to be held in 2014 and 2015 to continue the research and education thrusts emanating from the Mathematics of Planet Earth year 2013. The proposed locations and dates are as follows: MPE 2013+ Preparatory Workshop (Arizona State University, 2014); Management of Natural Resources (Howard University, 2014), Sustainable Human Environments (Rutgers University, 2014), Natural Disasters (Arizona State Univeristy, 2014), Data-aware Energy Use (University of California San Diego, 2014), Global Change (Univeristy of California Berkeley, 2015), and Education for the planet Earth of Tomorrow (University of Tennessee, 2015.) The Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE) was conceived as a year-long project slated to begin in January 2013, involving mainly North American institutions. It has since evolved to become a truly worldwide initiative with partners from all continents. As MPE has gained members, it has become clear that there is momentum to propel it beyond 2013. The problems facing our planet will persist, and the project supported here (MPE 2013+) aims to involve mathematical scientists in laying the groundwork for a long-term effort to surmount them. MPE 2013+ aims to sustain MPE activities beyond 2013 by: 1) conducting five research workshops that each defines a set of future research challenges; 2) establishing a research and education forum associated with each workshop that involves follow-up smaller group meetings to flesh out the challenges, identify potential follow-up activities, and begin collaborations; 3) holding an education workshop that helps to identify how to integrate themes identified in the research workshops into undergraduate and graduate curricula; 4) finding ways to involve the next generation of mathematical scientists in the effort, with special emphasis on involving under-represented minorities in the MPE workforce of the future, especially through an introductory conference that will prepare participants for involvement in the following research workshops; and 5) disseminating information about the mathematics of planet earth by creating a website and other publicity materials for the project. The research workshops cover the following themes: Management of Natural Resources (including water, forests, and food supplies); Sustainable Human Environments (including smarter cities, anthropogenic biomes, and security); Natural Disasters (monitoring, responding to, and mitigating their effects); Data-aware Energy Use (including alternative energy investment portfolios, smart grid, smart buildings, electric vehicles); Global Change (including observation, metrics, and mitigating and adapting to the effects of change). The project has significant potential benefit to society through improved capabilities to monitor the earth's systems and to extract meaning from collected data; new multi-scale methods for modeling complex interacting systems; mathematically driven pricing for resource and energy usage and incentives for energy-efficient construction; and mathematically precise criteria for measuring biodiversity and other ecological desiderata. MPE 2013+ aims to bring mathematical scientists not currently engaged in sustainability to these topics and to connect those who are with a broader multidisciplinary community. The project brings together a large number of people from different disciplines, with different backgrounds, at different stages of their careers, and with different points of view and actively recruits participants from groups historically under-represented in the sciences.
Effective start/end date9/1/128/31/16


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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