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Supporting the SIAM Community During Challenging Times

By Richard Moore

SIAM membership means different things to different people. To some, it is a chance to receive discounted access to SIAM’s numerous books, journals, and conferences. Others value the opportunities that SIAM provides for career advancement and recognition. Many feel that their continued membership expresses a fundamental commitment to SIAM’s mission to advance industrial and applied mathematics, and we all enjoy the sense of community with like-minded friends and colleagues. I had all of these rewards in mind when I first joined SIAM as a student over 20 years ago. Now they continue to inform our work at SIAM headquarters as we confront the many challenges that our community is currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To ensure that the SIAM community retained journal access even when unexpectedly working from home, we granted all members free access to LoPack—which includes SIAM’s entire journal archive—during the spring and early summer of 2020. To build a greater sense of connectedness amidst our physical separation, we offered all members the opportunity to join an additional SIAM Activity Group (SIAG)—a growing number of which have now launched webinar series to promote the open exchange of research and ideas—free of charge. SIAM has also deepened and widened its connection to applied mathematicians within the U.S. and abroad by forging new reciprocal agreements with domestic and international societies, and increasing the number of student chapters to 200 across 27 different countries. Our two “new” SIAGs, the SIAG on Applied and Computational Discrete Algorithms and the SIAG on Data Science (a rescoped version of the former SIAG on Data Mining), are rapidly expanding in membership. And as always, SIAM members will get discounted rates for all 2021 conferences. We look forward to gathering together again, virtually or in person.

2020 exposed the ways in which a lack of equity and opportunity permeates all aspects of society. SIAM is taking steps to understand the demographics of our members and community, and actively working to bolster programs that will address the underrepresentation of Black, Latino, and Native American researchers in applied mathematics and computational science. I am grateful to the large number of you who responded to our recent anonymous survey on race and ethnicity, and to those who completed their membership profiles with our updated demographic categories. SIAM’s recent appointment of Ron Buckmire (Occidental College) as the first Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will enable organization-wide coordination of our efforts to bring all voices to the shared pursuit of advancing applied math. SIAM continues to be an exemplar among mathematical societies in its recruitment and appointment of women to positions of honor and authority, and we are seeing persistent growth in their numbers as a proportion of overall SIAM membership.

As the COVID-19 vaccines suggest some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, SIAM looks to emerge as a stronger society with a revitalized membership that is ready to make the world a better place through the power of mathematics. Some of you, whether due to difficult circumstances or the fact that SIAM’s pivoted 2020 conferences were offered free of charge, have yet to renew your membership. You have received (or will soon receive) appeals from SIAM luminaries, whom you will recognize from your favorite textbooks, webinars, and plenary talks. They have graciously agreed to share, in their own words, why they value SIAM membership. Please heed their call to renew if you are able, and consider SIAM’s discounted rate for unemployed/disabled members if applicable. As always, if you have suggestions for how SIAM can better serve you as a member, feel free to contact me at [email protected]. I and SIAM’s amazing Membership team would love to hear from you.

  Richard Moore is the Director of Programs and Services at SIAM. 
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