The geosciences began their modern incarnation in 1957 with the 18-month long International Geophysical Year (IGY). The IGY saw a global mobilization of effort to investigate all aspects of the Earth and the space environment. While American and Soviet space vehicles made startling new discoveries about the Earth's magnetic field and the Van Allen belt, strong observational evidence was added to reinforce the plate tectonic revolution. New insights were obtained relating to the structure and dynamics of the earth's interior, both mantle and core. During the 1950s and 1960s, digital computers made it possible to model the atmosphere and oceans and, ultimately, to predict weather and climate as fluid media.
The last four decades have been monumental years of discovery and accumulation of facts and detailed data on the solid earth, ocean, atmosphere, and space sciences. Significant theoretical insight concerning these topics has emerged, but deep problems remain to challenge conventional methodologies and insights derived from the physical sciences. The time is ripe to apply mathematical modeling and analysis techniques, including newer methods in continuous and discrete dynamical systems, stochastic processes, homogenization, and multiscale asymptotics to our investigation of these problems.
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