SIAG Liaison to SIAM News
SIAGs appoint liaisons to SIAM News to ensure that their fields are brought to the attention of the entire SIAM membership via lively, fairly nontechnical articles about developments in the field.
The ideal SIAG liaison to SIAM News might have the following characteristics:
- An adaptive big-picture perspective of the field.
- Personal knowledge gleaned by doing research in the field, combined with an awareness of how that area fits into the field at large.
- Awareness of prizes and programs (educational, funding, and so forth) in the field.
The ultimate goal of the liaison's efforts is a steady supply of articles that over time convey to readers of SIAM News the status of research in the field. To that end, the liaison is either an articulate person who likes to write, or a person who has the matchmaking skills needed to identify a writer capable of presenting a worthy topic to readers of SIAM News.
SIAM members and thus SIAM News readers are mathematicians who for the most part will not be experts in a particular area; they might be only dimly aware that it even exists. The author of a SIAG-generated article needs to be able to explain the implications of a new research advance, whether for the public at large, for the field of the SIAG, or overall for science/technology; at the same time, because readers are mathematicians who have or are about to receive PhD's, sufficient mathematical details need to be brought out to impress those readers.
The responsibilities of the ideal SIAG liaison are pretty simple: Keep up with progress in the field and, when a newsworthy development comes into view, let SIAM News know. Some people do this quite well, phoning to point out that there's a hot new area in which a new/refined algorithm/method/application has produced more/better/faster . . . results of some kind. This liaison, being ideal, would also know who could (and who should not) write an article about the advance. SIAM News is happy to accept rough drafts, which after an iteration or two with the author(s), will do the job. Articles can cover the awarding of (nationally or internationally recognized) prizes, the introduction of new university programs, initiatives at funding agencies; they could in rare cases be book reviews (of general-interest books).
As far as the steady supply of articles mentioned earlier, in some years, one or two articles would be plenty. A SIAG conference is often a good occasion for more extensive coverage, with articles (3-6) that together constitute a snapshot of the conference program and, most likely, the field. The authors are usually conference speakers who have given outstanding talks in active areas; in general, when approached by a SIAG representative during the conference, such speakers enthusiastically accept invitations to write articles. Conference coverage is often optimal when advance planning is done with SIAM News staff.