Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 – MPE-2013 – was born out of the will of the world mathematical community to formulate the most urgent planetary problems that mathematics can address, to bring together world-class researchers to find solutions to these problems, and to engage the public in a dialogue about the significance of these problems. Over 100 organisations in more than 30 countries, including mathematical institutes, professional societies, research centres and teachers’ associations, are partners in this initiative.
There are four broad themes of MPE:
- A planet to discover : Planet Earth and the solar system; Geodesy, geoscience, geography; Ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere; Weather, climate, natural resources
- A planet supporting life: Biodiversity; Ecology, evolution; Sustainability; Water, agriculture, aquaculture
- A planet organized by humans: Social-economic systems; Ecosystem management; Renewable energy; Transport and communications networks
- A planet at risk: Climate change; Natural disasters; Ecosystem regime shifts; Infectious diseases; Sustainable development; Invasive species
In India, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (ICTS-TIFR), Bangalore, is a partner institution in MPE-2013. The specific role of the ICTS was to liaise with the Indian scientific community, in collaboration with researchers around the world, in order to conduct workshops, thematic programs, and conferences on topics that are aligned with the MPE initiative. It was through this initiative and in collaboration with TIFR, NCSM and the Ministry of Culture, India, ICTS-TIFR was successful in conducting the MPE2013 exhibition at the VITM, Bengaluru with Srishti school of art and design being the major designers of the exhibition. Several outreach activities were also conducted, to get a wider section of the society closer to Math.
As MPE events like these, around the world, start materializing, the overwhelming response to these efforts and the scope of this initiative necessitate the continuation of MPE beyond the year 2013. Thus, MPE will now be seen as a continuous effort towards advancing research on applications of mathematics to planetary issues, and towards articulating these applications in communications with the public through various media and with the students through curricula in schools, colleges, and universities.