What to do in the current situation?
I am thinking today about new PhDs in social and mathematical social science in a time when faculty hiring has been cut, postdocs are rare, and research institution funding has been cut.
On the other hand, there are all sorts of new funding opening up both nationally http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009#Energy and internationally, all sorts of collaborations that can be discussed, say, between the US and China, US and India, and so on, perhaps through strategic alliances, internet projects, and exploratory conversations.
I think the key in this environment, from here out, will be in continued learning, acquisition of new skills, and visualizing new possibilities for scientific work, mathematical modeling, and simulation, and mapping out real situations and data-based models that can lead to practical and systems breakthroughs.
Rethinking problems through mathematical modeling is in great demand, especially if they contain empirical variables for which data exist so that the theory can be tested. Friday Feb 20 2009 I heard a superb example of this by Norman J. Schofield. I use the (Intersci) wiki as a place to annotate work like Schofield’s and to get ideas for methods that can be applied elsewhere. His talk was a game-theoretic and scaling model of party politics (strategies), candidates (valences) and activists (money and time to move now issues are judged, usually to more extreme positions as they affect elections).
Use the wiki
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