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Welcome to SIGMA

We study disasters to reduce the risks they pose.

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We Study Instabilities in Geosystems using Mathematical Analysis (SIGMA)

Mathematical models, abstract and simplified conceptualizations of the real world, play a central role in both science and decision-making, but they are also prone to bias and misrepresentation. We take a proactive approach to the inclusion of the diverse voices provided by different scientific disciplines, the practical knowledge assembled by practitioners, and the often-ignored perspectives of communities at risk.  Read more about Diversity and Inclusion

Paul Summers during field work in Antarctica


We approach the challenge of understanding and reducing disaster risk through mathematical models, customized for the problem at hand, validated against observational data from a broad spectrum of scales, and informed by the needs of communities at risk through a scientific co-production approach. 

Jenny Suckale writing on chalkboard


Mathematics is often seen as a cold, formal and monolithic process of sheer intellection, but to us it is an inclusive, intuitive and human process – a community project. Through our teaching, mentoring and communicating, we seek to listen, understand, and create a shared vision for reducing disaster risk in an increasingly uncertain world. 

Group photo in front of FEMA Homeland Security Sign


Natural hazards have always shaped our planet, but global climate change alters the nature of the risk they pose. Adapting to this new normal requires new collaborative methods of assessment, goal setting, and problem solving with governments, markets, and communities. We have formed a Research-Education-Practice Partnership to shape a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.