IMAGe Theme of the Year education and outreach
An acknowledged hallmark of mathematical science is that the same mathematical and statistical methods and models can be used to solve problems in very different contexts. The success of mathematics in the geosciences, however, must be based on geoscientists and applied mathematicians working in multidisciplinary teams and being knowledgeable in complementary scientific fields. Moreover, long-term investments in multidisciplinary applications must include training new researchers within this collaboration model.
TOY 2008 posited that advances on difficult multiscale problems in the Earth-Sun system are more likely to come from integrating knowledge in mathematical modeling, computational science, observation, and experiments. The series of TOY workshops on turbulence theory, computation, and observations was based on this idea. Accordingly, the TOY 2008 summer school also surveyed these three themes with the intent to train the coming generation of mathematical and physical scientists to think broadly when attacking turbulence problems.
The 2008 summer school was run for three weeks with each week devoted to one of the themes from the workshops earlier in the year. An internationally recognized group of researchers worked with 30 Ph.D. students during the school. The third week was particularly beneficial because it gave the students hands-on experience running large simulation models and analyzing the output (see the Pouquet paper IMAGe Theme-of-the-Year 2008 in the CISL Research Catalog for more details). This format effectively reinforced the course material with practical experience in numerical modeling and simulation.
The TOY 2008 summer school participants gathered in front of the Mesa Lab on July 18, 2008. Keith Julien (left), Professor of Applied Mathematics at CU-Boulder and Annick Pouquet (not pictured), Director of IMAGe's Geophysical Turbulence Program at NCAR, co-directed the 2008 TOY. TOY establishes collaborations around potentially rewarding research activities and encourages contributions from talented young investigators in a variety of disciplines.
TOY 2009 will operate at a smaller scale and will involve student training within the workshops rather than at a separate summer school. This will include tutorial segments within the workshops, student presentations with peer feedback, and fielding several SIParCS projects. TOY 2009 may also include visits to several graduate programs in applied mathematics, offering a minisyposium to the students as insight into the numerical challenges specific to simulating geophysical processes.
By enhancing collaborations with the university community and by performing valuable education and outreach activities at the highest level, this work supports the NCAR strategic priorities "Engaging a broader and more diverse community in the atmospheric and geosciences" and "Supporting and enhancing formal science education at all levels." TOY workshops and schools are sponsored by the NSF cooperative agreement through UCAR and by NSF funding through the division of mathematical sciences.