An Applied Mathematician’s Apology

An Applied Mathematician’s Apology

Pure versus Applied Mathematicians. As a Mathematical Modeller, I am placed firmly in the Applied Mathematician’s Camp. The relationship between these two fractions can be tense to say the least. In my early years, I would say the following joke – “Why do Pure Mathematicians have a chip on their shoulder? Because they are always trying to prove something.” However, through time, experience and maturity my views have seriously mellowed. Reading Simon Singh’s book – Fermat Last Theorem, one gains a very good insight into the life of a Pure Mathematician. Completing my part time PhD in the field of Statistical Physics made it more Pure than my usual Applied Mathematical day job and I certainly had to do some Pure Mathematical methodology to get the job done. Over this weekend, I attended the EMS-LMS Mathematical Weekend. This conference was very geared towards Pure Mathematics and it was my first time I went to this type of event. Nevertheless, I was very impress with the passion, dedication and presentation style of the Pure Mathematicians. There was one speaker who had been working on the same problem for 25 years! Though I was one of the few Applied Mathematicians in attendance, I was made to feel welcome. To see some of the World Leading Mathematician present including two fellow Who’s Who Mathematician were very inspiring. As Pure and Applied Mathematicians, there are lessons we can learn from each other. I certainly value the time swapping notes with my new Pure Mathematical friends. Hence, as an Applied Mathematician, here my apology and promise – no more jokes about Pure Mathematicians.