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Over three hundred years ago, Galileo is reported to have said, "The laws of nature are written in the language of mathematics." Often mathematics and science go hand in hand, with one helping develop and improve the other. Discoveries in science, for example, open up new advances in statistics, computer science, operations research, and pure and applied mathematics which in turn enabled new practical technologies and advanced entirely new frontiers of science. Despite the interdependency that exists between these two disciplines, cooperation and collaboration between mathematical scientists and scientists have only occurred by chance.

To encourage new collaboration between the mathematical sciences and other fields and to sustain present collaboration, the National Research Council (NRC) formed a committee representing a broad cross-section of scientists from academia, federal government laboratories, and industry. The goal of the committee was to examine the mechanisms for strengthening interdisciplinary research between mathematical sciences and the sciences, with a strong focus on suggesting the most effective mechanisms of collaboration. Strengthening the Linkages Between the Sciences and the Mathematical Sciences provides the findings and recommendations of the committee as well as case studies of cross-discipline collaboration, the workshop agenda, and federal agencies that provide funding for such collaboration.

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Additional Information

National Academies Press
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Published on
Apr 5, 2000
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Mathematics / General
Science / General
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The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Since Galileo corresponded with Kepler, the community of scientists has become increasingly international. A DNA sequence is as significant to a researcher in Novosibirsk as it is to one in Pasadena. And with the advent of electronic communications technology, these experts can share information within minutes. What are the consequences when more bits of scientific data cross more national borders and do it more swiftly than ever before? Bits of Power assesses the state of international exchange of data in the natural sciences, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. The committee makes recommendations about access to scientific data derived from public funding. The volume examines: Trends in the electronic transfer and management of scientific data. Pressure toward commercialization of scientific data, including the economic aspects of government dissemination of the data. The implications of proposed changes to intellectual property laws and the role of scientists in shaping legislative and legal solutions. Improving access to scientific data by and from the developing world.
Bits of Power explores how these issues have been addressed in the European Community and includes examples of successful data transfer activities in the natural sciences. The book will be of interest to scientists and scientific data managers, as well as intellectual property rights attorneys, legislators, government agencies, and international organizations concerned about the electronic flow of scientific data.
The Committee on an Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives set forth to provide an assessment of the feasibility, practicality, and affordability of U.S. boost-phase missile defense compared with that of the U.S. non-boost missile defense when countering short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats from rogue states to deployed forces of the United States and its allies and defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.

To provide a context for this analysis of present and proposed U.S. boost-phase and non-boost missile defense concepts and systems, the committee considered the following to be the missions for ballistic missile defense (BMD): protecting of the U.S. homeland against nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD); or conventional ballistic missile attacks; protection of U.S. forces, including military bases, logistics, command and control facilities, and deployed forces, including military bases, logistics, and command and control facilities. They also considered deployed forces themselves in theaters of operation against ballistic missile attacks armed with WMD or conventional munitions, and protection of U.S. allies, partners, and host nations against ballistic-missile-delivered WMD and conventional weapons.

Consistent with U.S. policy and the congressional tasking, the committee conducted its analysis on the basis that it is not a mission of U.S. BMD systems to defend against large-scale deliberate nuclear attacks by Russia or China. Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense: An Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives suggests that great care should be taken by the U.S. in ensuring that negotiations on space agreements not adversely impact missile defense effectiveness. This report also explains in further detail the findings of the committee, makes recommendations, and sets guidelines for the future of ballistic missile defense research.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are cultural achievements that reflect our humanity, power our economy, and constitute fundamental aspects of our lives as citizens, consumers, parents, and members of the workforce. Providing all students with access to quality education in the STEM disciplines is important to our nation's competitiveness. However, it is challenging to identify the most successful schools and approaches in the STEM disciplines because success is defined in many ways and can occur in many different types of schools and settings. In addition, it is difficult to determine whether the success of a school's students is caused by actions the school takes or simply related to the population of students in the school.

Successful K-12 STEM Education defines a framework for understanding "success" in K-12 STEM education. The book focuses its analysis on the science and mathematics parts of STEM and outlines criteria for identifying effective STEM schools and programs. Because a school's success should be defined by and measured relative to its goals, the book identifies three important goals that share certain elements, including learning STEM content and practices, developing positive dispositions toward STEM, and preparing students to be lifelong learners. A successful STEM program would increase the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields, enhance the STEM-capable workforce, and boost STEM literacy for all students. It is also critical to broaden the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields.

Successful K-12 STEM Education examines the vast landscape of K-12 STEM education by considering different school models, highlighting research on effective STEM education practices, and identifying some conditions that promote and limit school- and student-level success in STEM. The book also looks at where further work is needed to develop appropriate data sources. The book will serve as a guide to policy makers; decision makers at the school and district levels; local, state, and federal government agencies; curriculum developers; educators; and parent and education advocacy groups.

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