• The year 2013 has been marked for various mathematical activities under a wide umbrella of initiatives called the Mathematics of the Planet Earth (MPE) 2013, which will focus on mathematical research in areas of relevance to the various processes that affect the earth. The dynamics of the oceans and the atmosphere and the changes in the climate are, of course, the obvious topics that are important for life on planet earth and make use of mathematics in an essential way. In addition, a multitude of other topics are of relevance, including the financial and economic systems, energy production and utilisation, spread of epidemics at the population level, ecology and genomics of species.

  • To stimulate imagination on the many domains where mathematics plays a crucial role in planetary issues, the following four (non-exhaustive) themes are proposed as part of MPE-2013:

  • A planet to discover: oceans; meteorology and climate; mantle processes, natural resources, celestial mechanics.

  • A planet supporting life: ecology, biodiversity, evolution.

  • A planet organised by humans: political, economic, social and financial systems; organisation of transport and communications networks; management of resources; energy.

  • A planet at risk: climate change, sustainable development, epidemics; invasive species, natural disasters.

  • Many international bodies are partners in MPE-2013. The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a partner-institute. The main goals of the ICTS are to foster research, be a resource for high-level education and training, and reach out to the larger society by being a node for scientific information and values. The ICTS would liaise with the Indian scientific community, possibly in collaboration with researchers around the world, to conduct workshops, thematic programmes, and conferences .

  • Another major theme will be outreach to increase awareness of the importance and essential nature of mathematics in tackling these problems, and to bring out the relevance and usefulness of mathematics to a wider section of society . One activity that is being actively pursued at the international level is a “Competition for an open source exhibition of virtual modules.”