22 February 2013 | General, MPNS
2013: A Special Year to Understand the Mathematics of Planet Earth

Universities, research institutes and organisations all over the world have come together to celebrate 2013 as a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE). On 5 March 2013 UNESCO will hold an MPE Day in Paris to raise awareness of what Mathematics can do for the Planet.

There is increasing pressure to comprehend our planet and its environment: growing population competing for the same global resources, increased frequency and intensity of dramatic meteorological events, as well as evidence pointing to longer term patterns of general climate change.

Our planet is the setting for dynamic processes of all sorts. These include the geophysical processes in the mantle, the continents and the oceans; the atmospheric processes that determine our weather and climates; the biological processes involving living species and their interactions; and the human processes of finance, agriculture, water, transport and energy.

The challenges facing our planet and our civilization are multidisciplinary and multifaceted, and the mathematical sciences play a central role in the scientific effort to understand and to deal with these challenges.

The mission of the MPE project is to:

  • Encourage research in identifying and solving fundamental questions about planet earth;
  • Encourage educators at all levels to communicate the issues related to planet earth;
  • Inform the public about the essential role of the mathematical sciences in facing the challenges to our planet.

MPE2013 has reached the breadth of an international year under the patronage of UNESCO. Many research institutes will host long-term programs, workshops and summer schools throughout 2013.

An international competition of museum exhibits will produce the basis of an Open Source MPE virtual Exhibition, which will be officially launched at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris on 5 March2013.

MPE2013 will create exceptional opportunities for long-term partnerships, both inside the mathematical sciences and with other related scientific disciplines. It will allow training a new generation of researchers working on scientific problems related to climate change and sustainability.

Science Networks to Understand the Earth

COST funds over 200 networks, called COST Actions, where scientists come together to pool and share their knowledge and resources. The following networks are of particular relevance for studying the dynamic phenomena of our planet.

  • COST Action MP0806 ‘Particles in turbulence’: a network that supports the fundamental research on the statistical properties of particles transported by turbulent flows;
  • COST Action MP0905 ‘Black Holes in a Violent Universe’: aimed at enhancing the understanding of the BH-phenomenon and its impact on the evolution of our Universe;
  • COST Action MP1006 ‘Fundamental Problems in Quantum Physics’: a COST Action to strengthen the cooperation and boosting the research activity among European groups working in the foundations of quantum mechanics;
  • COST Action MP1104 ‘Polarization as a tool to study the Solar System and beyond’: a COST Action that promotes polarisation as an invaluable tool to obtain a wealth of information about astrophysical bodies in our Solar System and beyond;
  • COST Action MP1209 ‘Thermodynamics in the quantum regime’: a science and technology network to establish and grow the scientific basis that underpins future thermodynamic technologies at the nanoscale.


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