Colleges and universities--and also high school departments, institutional public information offices, math clubs, and student groups--and related associations and interest groups are urged to organize and host activities in April for Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. Past activities have included workshops, competitions, exhibits, festivals, lectures, symposia, department open houses, math art exhibits, and math poetry readings. Some years, elected officials have issued proclamations, frequently in connection with special meetings and events arranged to observe the month. This year, due to the coronavirus forcing schools to close and no gatherings, we encourage you to celebrate mathematics and statistics on social media. Share your favorite math books, games, t-shirt designs, posters, news stories, videos, and your research, using hashtag #MathStatMonth. Read about the origins of Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month.
Why? Both subjects play a significant role in addressing many real-world problems--internet security, sustainability, disease, climate change, the data deluge, and much more. Research in these and other areas is ongoing, revealing new results and applications every day in fields such as medicine, manufacturing, energy, biotechnology, and business. Mathematics and statistics are important drivers of innovation in our technological world, in which new systems and methodologies continue to become more complex.
Basic research in mathematics is valuable in itself, but it often contributes to research in other sciences, and has often, years later, led to discoveries that impact society today. For example, an encryption algorithm used today in e-commerce relies on results discovered in the 17th and 18th centuries, long before computers were invented. Mathematics has inspired some of the most stunning architecture and art.
In the age of big data, statistics underlies almost every decision made today, whether it's the effectiveness of a new drug or treatment, or the debut of a new mobile device. Statistics is how analysts convert raw data into useful information, from studies of proteins to surveys of galaxies.
Research in statistics and the mathematical sciences is important for its applications and because it trains one in critical thinking and problem solving. From magic squares and Möbius bands to magical card tricks and illusions, mysterious phenomena with elegant "Aha!" explanations have been part of both subjects for centuries.
This April, let's celebrate mathematics and statistics and the diverse researchers and students in these fields who are contributing so much to furthering discoveries, solving problems, and finding beauty in our world.