Monthly Archives: August 2020

Chicago’s Environmental Optimism

While we keep reading and hearing about the negative impacts the coronavirus crisis is having on our economy, our youth and our consumerism, we thought it would be a welcome change to focus on something positive going on in the area with particular reference to the environment.

It shouldn’t come as such a great surprise that we are seeing lower numbers for air pollution and greenhouse emissions.  One way this is seen in Chicago is the increase in river-swimming fish.  This has been happening in recent times irrespective of the coronavirus but now it is further increasing. 

According to a recent Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Report, today there are close to 60 types of fish that can be found swimming in the Calumet and Chicago rivers.  Compare that to figures of four decades ago when there were around 10.  Some of the species that can be found include: bluegill, yellow perch and catfish.  Experts in the field believe that cleaner rivers are playing a huge part in this.

New National Resource in Chicago

There is a new initiative in Chicago.  The Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI) launched 4 days ago.  Its mission is: “to apply rigorous mathematics and statistics to urgent, complex scientific and societal problems, and to spur transformational change in the mathematics community and the mathematical sciences. This mission based on a vision with three fundamental elements: innovation, communication, and diversity.”

The entity is a joint venture between UChicago statisticians, Northwestern University, Chicago’s Illinois University and Urbana-Champaign Illinois University’s mathematicians working together to develop ideas that can hopefully impact today’s challenges in the science and technological fields.

With a $15.5 million National Science Foundation grant, the researchers will focus on the following areas: artificial intelligence, climate change, data science, economics, health care, quantum information theory and materials science.  According to UChicago President Robert J. Zimmer:

“The Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation will be a critical national resource for applied mathematics, purposefully connecting mathematical and statistical methods and discoveries to applied science and technology in a way that reaches across disciplines and brings together a wide range of collaborators to address some of the most challenging problems of our time. We are excited to launch the Institute at the University of Chicago and look forward to seeing the impact of its work in the years ahead.”