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Archive for June 2012

Math goes to the movies

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the mathematics underlying movie special effects at this free public event, July 11 at 6:15 PM at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, MN—27 June, 2012—What do Avatar, The Chronicles of NarniaX-MenHarry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean have in common?

Simulated physics.

That’s right. Making visual effects real for movie audiences—be it Avatar’s vast ocean surface or rising water levels in The Deathly Hallows—requires quite a bit of physics and math. Physical equations and scientific computations are generated behind the scenes to ensure that the elements you see on the big screen obey the same laws of physics as their real counterparts. Read the rest of this entry »

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The math of malaria

Philadelphia, PA – June 20, 2012—Malaria affects over 200 million individuals every year and kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The disease varies greatly from region to region in the species that cause it and in the carriers that spread it. It is easily transmitted across regions through travel and migration. This results in outbreaks of the disease even in regions that are essentially malaria-free, such as the United States. Malaria has been nearly eliminated in the U.S. since the 1950s, but the country continues to see roughly 1,500 cases a year, most of them from travelers. Hence, the movement or dispersal of populations becomes important in the study of the disease.

In a paper published this month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Daozhou Gao and Shigui Ruan propose a mathematical model to study malaria transmission. Read the rest of this entry »

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SIAM Unwrapped June 2012

News & announcements for the SIAM membership community

Dear SIAM Members,

The latest SIAM Report on Mathematics in Industry, highlighting the essential role mathematics plays in various disciplines in the industrial sector, is now available. Find further details and a link to the full report below.

If you’re moving or have any other changes to your profile information, please remember to update your record at Read the rest of this entry »

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Watch highlights from M3 Challenge 2012!

Watch highlights from Moody’s Mega Math Challenge 2012, where thousands of high school students from the Eastern U.S. created mathematical models to determine the best regions in the country for establishing rail lines as part of a revived High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. The regions were ranked based on estimates of ridership numbers over the next 20 years, and costs of building and maintenance, in addition to the effects such rail networks would have on American dependence on foreign energy.

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SIAM responds to PCAST Engage to Excel report

The 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” calls for exactly what it’s name indicates: a nationwide initiative to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the first two years of college.

SIAM strongly supports the PCAST report’s call for a national experiment to improve mathematics education, including an initiative to improve K-16 mathematics teaching and learning and to build on frontier math and science as well as STEM learning research to catalyze student engagement and learning.

SIAM also agrees with the PCAST report’s finding that undergraduate students need mathematics exposure that is compelling and relevant to their STEM interests. However, the report proposes to achieve this by recommending that math courses be taught by non-mathematicians.

While SIAM understands the underlying goal to better connect students to the most relevant math skills for their respective disciplines, we believe that collaboration with mathematicians, rather than removing mathematicians from educational roles is important to achieve these objectives, as this will ensure student access to relevant and exciting learning experiences with appropriate breadth and depth.

SIAM’s community of applied mathematicians and computational scientists interact and collaborate daily with scientists and engineers in various STEM fields. Just as research collaborations between mathematicians and computational scientists and those in other STEM disciplines have found so much success, so can collaborations between mathematicians and STEM practitioners leading to engaging educational programs. SIAM members routinely work with faculty in other disciplines to teach math as well as science and engineering courses.

The SIAM community is committed to this cause as SIAM has made advances in fostering collaborations across the STEM spectrum and promoting education at all levels over the last few decades. The applied mathematics community can play a very significant role in improving undergraduate education and in increasing the STEM pipeline.

Please read SIAM’s full response here.

The original PCAST report can be accessed on the Whitehouse website here.

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Call for Proposals: SAMSI Summer Programs and Workshops

This is a paid announcement that appeared in SIAM News.

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute has issued a call for proposals for summer programs and workshops that are focused on topics within the broad spectrum of new or recent research themes covered by SAMSI, to take place in the summer of 2013. Summer programs are short (one to two weeks) research programs that are consistent with SAMSI’s core theme of bringing together statisticians, applied mathematicians, other mathematical scientists, and researchers in other disciplines; however, not every proposal needs to include all of these elements. Workshops are typically shorter (two to three days) and are focused on specific topics. Summer programs and workshops can act as seeds from which future year-long programs develop; such activities can help participants develop new SAMSI research themes without the workload required for year-long programs.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Solar Crest Publishing: New Book Announcement

This is a paid announcement that appeared in SIAM News.

Introduction to Dynamical Systems and Geometric Mechanics
This text offers a comprehensive introduction to dynamics and mechanics from a modern geometric perspective, and contains several recent research results previously unpublished in any text.

For more information and a Google preview, readers should visit the Solar Crest Publishing website at For a limited time, readers can receive 30% off an order by using Coupon Code SIAM30.

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University of South Carolina Call for Nominations: 2013 Vasil Popov Prize

This is a paid announcement that appeared in SIAM News.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2013 Vasil Popov Prize. The prize is awarded every three years for outstanding research in fields related to the work of Vasil A. Popov, who is best known for his contributions to approximation theory. Candidates must have received a PhD within the previous six years.

Nominations, which should include a brief description of relevant work and a vita of the nominee, should be sent to: Pencho Petrushev, Chair, Popov Prize Selection Committee, Inter-disciplinary Mathematics Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; The deadline for nominations is November 15, 2012.

The prize will be awarded in April 2013 at the 14th International Conference in Approximation Theory, in San Antonio, Texas.

For further information, readers can visit

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