Why study mathematics?

The field of Mathematics explores the relationship between different concepts such as structures, compatibility, numbers, sets and space. This continuous exploration builds on sets of assumptions to outline necessary conclusions, and thus can be seen as an expansion of the theory of logic. The quest of Mathematics is to capture the complex relations between all concepts that we can clearly and precisely define. Seen as both exact science and the field of engineering deal with analysis of the relations between quantitative measurements, Mathematics is considered a cornerstone in every scientific endeavour and is often referred to as “the queen of science”. In modern times, with technological improvements placing more and more tasks in the hands of accurate machines that operate according to singular patterns, the role of Mathematics becomes increasingly central and pivotal in aiding and advancing technological development.

The motivations of Mathematics students to delve into its complex world are many: Some are attracted to the poetic beauty of fleeting abstract notions being described and outlined through an organized, absolute system. This point of view gives special status to notions like “proof” and “definition”. When these notions are at their most accurate and concise, when they capture ideas in a decisive way, their minimalistic esthetics is charming and inviting to many researchers. Harold Hardy: “There is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics”.
Albert Einstein: “Mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas”.

Other Mathematics enthusiasts are driven by the sheer mental effort the mathematician is faced with. They view math as a thinking game, where the objective is to find solutions to well defined problems within the confines of the rules of deductive reasoning and base assumptions. This game poses an intellectual challenge where success and failure are defined absolutely. Many researchers are drawn to this challenge to test their strengths and limitations.

Many choose to study Mathematics due to its immense functional value. Numerous scientific breakthroughs were based on mathematical discoveries and the improvement in scientific language which they offered. Examples of Mathematics' contribution to science range from classical mechanics through the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics to key discoveries about the structure of matter in statistical mechanics. Mathematics opened the door to developments in many fields such as: genetics, thermodynamics, computer science and astronomy. Extensive training in mathematics is a common thread between many exceptional scientists such as Copernicus, Newton and Einstein. Apart from scientific uses, mathematics is known to carry great importance in the fields of engineering and social sciences, where it is used to develop methods in statistics and advance data analysis.

Nowadays, advanced Mathematics is used in many industrial applications, both for algorithms in technological devices (from search engines to autonomic vehicles), and for statistical analysis in biology, sociology, material engineering and the stock market.     

Life after a B.Sc in maths can lead in many directions. Some graduates may continue on to advanced studies in mathematics and will keep exploring and advancing the field. Others, will turn to advanced studies in science and will be able to use the tools they have acquired in order to improve and enrich their chosen field. In addition, many may choose to apply their mathematical knowledge to practical purposes either in software and algorithm development, data analysis, sociology or finance.