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September 8, 2011

Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

Posted by John Baez

All over the world, 2013 will be a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth. At Banff they’re inviting mathematicians to organize workshops on this theme, and the deadline is September 30th. I want to apply.

Since I’m starting to apply category-theoretic ideas to complex networked systems found in mathematical biology, ecology and climate physics, I’ll probably do an application on “network theory”. If you’re interested, let me know.

For more details, including more about what I mean by “network theory”, go here.





So far Dan Ghica, Blake Stacey, Jason Morton and Jacob Biamonte have expressed interest in this idea.

If you are (or know) a mathematical biologist, theoretical ecologist or climate scientist with an interest in network theory, please help! I need people from a wide variety of disciplines to come together and help figure out the big picture.



Posted at September 8, 2011 5:57 AM UTC

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11 Comments & 0 Trackbacks

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

Hi John,

I am neither a mathematical biologist, nor theoretical ecologist nor climate scientist so I don’t quite fit your bill.

I do have an interest in networks …

Posted by: Eugene Lerman on September 9, 2011 12:15 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

Of course you fit the bill, Eugene! I hope you can come to this workshop if it takes place—you’re doing exactly the right kind of stuff.

I’m not too worried about getting mathematicians ‘like us’ interested in this workshop. But I need to work harder to get mathematical biologists, theoretical ecologists and climate scientists on board—that’s why I emphasized them.

Posted by: John Baez on September 9, 2011 4:26 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a Biomathematics Program. I can ask around…

Posted by: Eugene Lerman on September 9, 2011 3:09 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

Please do. I have lists of papers on various aspects of network theory related to biology, ecology and climate physics and can start contacting the authors, but I wanted to start by seeing who would raise there hand if I just asked who was interested in this workshop. So far it’s Jacob Biamonte, Bruce Bartlett, Bob Coecke, Dan Ghica, Jason Morton, Cameron Smith, Blake Stacey, you and me. That’s a good start—enough to plan a revolution. But I want more people in biology, ecology and climate science.

Posted by: John Baez on September 10, 2011 7:27 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

I have just joined for my PhD in atmospheric physics. My professor want me to do something in the electrodnamics of atmosphere. I have a background of theoretical physics and did my MSc and MPhil projects on analytical works. Will this program give me an overall idea on what theorists are doing in the physics of atmosphere?
I needed to do some analytical as well as computationl works if possible. can anyone help me?

Posted by: Muhammed Kutty on October 13, 2011 8:39 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

This edition of Notices of the AMS has an article of ecological interest – Greenhouse Gas Molecules: A Mathematical Perspective. (It also has a review of my book.)

Posted by: David Corfield on October 31, 2011 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

A review of your book! Wow — it’s been a while since it came out…

For some reason I enjoyed the line “Corfield knows what he is talking about, at least as far as I can tell”. I might adapt that and attempt to make it my epitaph. But I’ll have to earn it first.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on November 1, 2011 1:22 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

…it’s been a while since it came out…

Yes, just the 8 years since 2003. And, from my point of view, quite a lot of the writing dates back up to a decade before that.

Posted by: David Corfield on November 1, 2011 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

Thanks, David! That looks like a really fun article, especially now that I’m thinking a bit about chemistry!

That’s a good review of your book, too. It should get a lot of mathematicians interested in it, and maybe even convince philosophers that since mathematicians take it seriously, it’s worth reading.

For some reason I enjoyed the line “Corfield knows what he is talking about, at least as far as I can tell”. I might adapt that and attempt to make it my epitaph.

I don’t quite see how that’d work as an epitaph. Maybe this:



TOM LEINSTER
He knew what he was talking about, as far as we can tell.



or maybe this:



TOM LEINSTER
I knew what I was talking about, as far as I could tell.



or even:



TOM LEINSTER
Corfield knows what he is talking about, as far as I could tell.



Posted by: John Baez on November 1, 2011 4:07 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

:-)

Call me self-centred, but I was imagining that my epitaph would be about me. That essentially rules out the last one. It was the first one I had in mind.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on November 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Mathematics of Planet Earth at Banff

David wrote:

This edition of Notices of the AMS has an article of ecological interest – Greenhouse Gas Molecules: A Mathematical Perspective

That’s an interesting article, and quite sophisticated, it would seem. Is there an audience for this?

It is hardly imaginable for me: Either you had a thorough class in quantum mechanics with applications and therefore know all this already, or you won’t stand a chance to understand it. For example, the authors have a box (box 2) explaining the selection rule for IR transitions, but obviously don’t have enough space to explain the significance of a dipole in classical electromagnetics, which is a prerequisite in order to understand the interaction of radiation with electric charges in a semiclassical approximation.

On the other hand I don’t know if such an exposition is needed in order to explain the importance of mathematics in physics and physical chemistry :-)

(I’m asking this because I once thought about writing a similar exposition for Azimuth.)

Posted by: Tim van Beek on November 1, 2011 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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