MATHEMATICAL CHALLENGES OF THE 21st CENTURY
At the heart of many of the great intellectual challenges of the 21st
century
lies a mathematical challenge. Whether the goal is to map the human genome,
or
to explore the potential of quantum computers, or to unify the fundamental
forces of nature, some of the basic questions that arise are mathematical
ones.
Even those challenges that grow directly out of mathematics itself, such as
the
mystery of how prime numbers are distributed among all natural numbers,
often
exhibit surprising connections to seemingly unrelated areas. Indeed, one of
the hallmarks of mathematics at the turn of the century is a flowering of
connections between mathematics and all branches of science.
These connections will be explored in an extraordinary meeting,
"Mathematical
Challenges of the 21st Century," to be held August 612 on the campus of the
University of California, Los Angeles. Sponsored by the American
Mathematical
Society, this meeting will feature lectures by over thirty international
leaders in mathematics who will outline some of the major challenges within
the
field and along its borders with a wide range of other areas. Taken
together,
the lectures will present a view of the influence of mathematics across the
entire landscape of human endeavor.
At a famous lecture in 1900 in Paris, the renowned German mathematician
David
Hilbert presented a set of twentythree outstanding mathematical problems of
the time. These problems came to have a profound influence on the field of
mathematics, and a few of them remain unsolved today. "Mathematical
Challenges
of the 21st Century" harks back to Hilbert's famous lecture by providing a
sweeping panorama of mathematics today. By bringing together top thinkers
to
explore the current state and probable future of mathematics, this meeting
promises to be a historic event.
Four short pieces outlining some of the main themes of "Mathematical
Challenges
of the 21st Century" are available on the Web:
Geometry:
http://www.ams.org/newinmath/press/mathchallgeometry.html
Mathematics and the biological and life sciences:
http://www.ams.org/newinmath/press/mathchallbiology.html
Mathematics and computer science:
http://www.ams.org/newinmath/press/mathchallcomputing.html
Mathematics and physics:
http://www.ams.org/newinmath/press/mathchallphysics.html
