Past President's Address: whydomath

Wednesday, July 9
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Room: Town & Country

One of the extraordinary and most satisfying features of mathematics is a kind of technology transfer that occurs when ideas developed in one field of mathematics apply equally well, and oftentimes in unlikely ways, in fields outside of mathematics.

Katherine Socha and I have been leading a SIAM effort to develop a multimedia website, named whydomath, which will feature many success stories about the application of mathematics and computational science. The website, aimed at a freshman / popular science level, will be introduced at this meeting.

Ultimately, whydomath will consist of many nodes, each one telling a story where the mathematical sciences has already proved instrumental in advancing an area of general societal interest, perhaps by being the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry or, perhaps, just by providing the framework for unexpected advancement in another field. We want to highlight many of the ways in which the mathematical sciences have added value.

In part the purpose of this talk is to present the website. But there is a more important goal: to challenge members of the SIAM community to help tell these stories.

Martin Golubitsky
Ohio State University and the University of Houston

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