Monday, March 14, 2022 at 12:56 p.m.
PARIS – A new UNESCO study released on Monday highlights the “important” role of mathematicians in meeting the contemporary challenges of humanity.
Although mathematics is ubiquitous in everyday life, there are not enough mathematicians to solve the complex challenges facing mankind, including climate change or epidemics, according to a new UNESCO release on mathematics for International Mathematics Day.
“This study shows that governments have every interest in including a mathematician in their Scientific Advisory Board,” underscores Christian Rousseau, of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Montreal in Canada, who spearheaded the development of this guide. Press release.
“The Govit-19 epidemic has really brought mathematical modeling to the forefront of the mainstream,” he adds.
News that uses mathematical terms such as “herd immunity” based on the virus’s basic breeding number (R0) or mass vaccine have become common phrases. In addition, mathematical methods have been used to design vaccines more efficiently and to make the vaccine an uncertain model of a social phenomenon.
But the usefulness of mathematics does not stop there. According to Norbert Hoonkonno, head of the African Academy of Sciences Network, “Mathematics for action is a revolutionary political tool. It highlights the crucial role of mathematics in meeting the most pressing global challenges and achieving sustainable development goals by 2030.
One of these goals is to eradicate poverty. For example, this guide illustrates how researchers in Senegal were able to establish a poverty map listing 552 villages and communities, thus being able to identify areas that require more public investment despite the lack of census data. Using mathematical tools such as machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence), researchers have been able to determine the extent of poverty in specific areas.
This guide explains how mathematical models can explore many possible scenarios that may affect the decision-making process. Scientists rely on a combination of climate models and scenarios to create reliable alternatives for the future.
“The shortage of qualified mathematics teachers around the world threatens the training of a sufficient number of mathematicians and scientists capable of meeting the challenges of the contemporary world,” warns Merlin Goose and Anjou Halai, two vice presidents of the International. Commission on Mathematical Education, even the authors of this guide.