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While the world is becoming smaller in some senses, the intellectual terrain is becoming ever more difficult to traverse. The physical world is changing at an accelerated pace because of human activities. New technologies and intellectual breakthroughs have profoundly changed our understanding of the environment but also have revealed vast chasms of ignorance at the boundaries between disciplines. Disciplines have fractured, multiplied, and coalesced like volcanic islands in a sea of turmoil. The net result is that interdisciplinary collaborations are increasingly needed to extend research frontiers and address issues at the interface of science and society.