From: “Danny C. Calegari” <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: April 7, 2008 9:19:15 AM PDTTo: email@example.comSubject: proposal to cut staff at the Department of Mathematics and ComputingDear Professor Lovegrove –This brief note urges you to reconsider the recent proposal bythe University of Southern Queensland to cut staff at the Departmentof Mathematics and Computing, to eliminate all non-service teachingclasses, and to eliminate majors in (amongst others) mathematics andstatistics. To the outside observer, this move seems foolhardy in theextreme, and invites dire consequences down the road. Increasingly,multinational corporations in the financial, pharmaceutical, informationsciences, and high-tech sectors rely on mathematics and statistics PhD’sto compete, and pay a great deal of attention to the availability ofsuch human resources. Bluntly, there are no Silicon Valleys withoutStanfords and Berkeleys nearby. A university which turns its back onbasic research (with mathematics as an essential ingredient) has turnedits back on the future.A vibrant and engaged mathematics department can be destroyedin a couple of years (for example, the decline and fall of the Monashdepartment in the late 90’s) but can take decades (and many millions ofdollars) to rebuild. Australia’s mathematical talent will not wait aroundfor this to happen; the rest of the world will be more than happy togain from your loss. You must know that a University’s real value is inits intellectual assets, and not in its buildings, or the number ofadministrative staff. As an expatriate mathematician myself, I havewatched the position of the mathematical sciecnes in Australia deteriorateover the past decade, resigning myself to the possibility that it willnever recover. The new money allocated in the last year by the Federalgovernment for national priority disciplines is, to put it charitably, astopgap measure. To divert this money into other areas is to willfullyhasten the utter collapse of the system. Very few people are in a positionto do anything about this particular case at this time, and you are oneof them. I hope you make the right choice.Yours respectfully,Danny CalegariRichard Merkin Distinguished Professor of MathematicsCalifornia Institute of Technology
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