The one-two punch of mathematicians and … upcoming good news

On my last visit to Toronto a couple of weeks ago, I had a long discussion with fellow mathematician and friend, Jim Colliander. “ I love this country, but …” Jim was clearly distressed about the future of research in Canada and about NSERC’s new ways, in particular their impact on the mathematical sciences.

I was particularly happy to learn how knowledgeable he was about the global issues around the academe, especially what’s happening in the US. Father-in-law “oblige” … So I encouraged him to blog about his ideas and concerns.

And what a nice surprise it was when he forwarded to me yesterday his very first blogpost, Mathematics Discovery Grants are Insufficient and Broken

Jim has his own take on some themes I touched upon in previous posts, and he discusses some of them with more details: “Discovery Grants are Insufficient”, “HQP training is not necessary for spectacular research success”, the “Mid-Career Funding Gap”, and “Research Program Profiles should be Defined by Mathematicians”.

With “Piece of Mind” not being solely focused on the mathematical sciences, Jim’s blog is a nice addition to “The Accidental Mathematician” blog of my colleague, Isabella Laba. Together, and from both sides of the rockies, they would make a very powerful one-two punch adding some needed muscle to an otherwise “timid” and self-effacing community. Keep your head up NSERC, as they say in the Hockey world.

Talking about punches, I am puzzled by why the media always make a fuss whenever a mathematician comes out of his/her shell and either urinates on someone’s door, or simply clobbers … an annoying mascot. I think people will stop taking notice of these acts once we start doing them more often and not on the rare occasion. So go ahead fellow mathematicians and punch on …. and above your weight if possible.

In any case, “Goldy, we’re honestly sorry your mask got damaged, and we’re glad the human inside you wasn’t hurt. But next time a fan gets annoyed with you, move on. He may be a tree-climbing mathematician who just wants to watch some gymnastics.”

I do have a piece of great news to announce to the world’s mathematical sciences community. I cannot do it yet until everything is signed and sealed, and the ink is dry.  I will however answer if you ask me nicely with a personal email. Just another way to know who is following!

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