By
Professor
William
Fitzgibbon
The
Discipline
The
study
of mathematics
is central
to contemporary
education.
However,
few
of us
may
have
taken
the
time
to ask
the
question,
"What
is mathematics?"
Merriam
Webster's
Collegiate
Dictionary
defines
mathematics
as:
"the
science
of numbers
and
their
operations,
interrelations,
combinations,
generalizations,
and
of space
configurations
and
their
structure,
measurement,
transformations,
and
generalizations."
Perhaps
this
is more
of a
description
than
definition.
A more
succinct
definition
might
be:
"Mathematics
is the
art
and
science
of abstraction."
Mathematical
reasoning
allows
one
to parse
a complex
problem
into
small
tractable
parts,
strip
away
all
nonessential
elements,
analyze
the
essential
core,
and
to reconstruct
the
analysis
to solve
the
problem.
Mathematics
reveals
hidden
patterns
that
give
clues
to understanding
the
world
around
us.
Encompassing
much
more
than
arithmetic
and
geometry,
mathematics
is a
science
dealing
with
data,
measurements
and
scientific
observations;
with
inference,
deduction
and
proof
and
with
the
development
of mathematical
models
of biological,
physical,
and
social
systems.
This
is the
power
of mathematics
and
the
basis
for
its
inestimable
importance.
Yet
there
is beauty
as well
as utility
in this
art
and
science
of abstraction.
In the
course
of their
education
mathematics
students
come
to understand
the
words
of Gosta
MittagLeffler:
"The
mathematician's
best
work
is art,
a high
perfect
art,
as daring
as the
most
secret
dreams
of imagination.
Mathematical
genius
and
artistic
genius
touch
one
another."
The
Department
The
Department
of Mathematics
of the
University
of Houston
offers
an excellent
environment
to study
mathematics
and
its
applications.
We are
the
largest
department
on campus
with
approximately
275
undergraduate
majors,
75 graduate
students
and
8000
students
taking
mathematics
courses
per
semester.
Our
diverse
faculty
is both
research
active
and
deeply
committed
to the
teaching
endeavor.
Virtually
every
course
at or
above
the
calculus
level
is taught
by the
faculty
rather
than
by graduate
students
or part
time
instructors.
Students
have
the
opportunity
to learn
from
faculty
members
who
have
made
and
continue
to make
significant
contributions
to the
intellectual
base
of the
discipline.
The
intellectual
atmosphere
is lively
to say
the
least.
Numerous
seminars
meet
weekly
and
there
is a
steady
stream
of eminent
mathematicians
from
other
institutions
visiting
on both
short
and
long
term
bases.
Modern
computing
and
information
technology
play
an important
role
in our
teaching
effort.
Students
can
pursue
a variety
of subdisciplines
such
as computational
mathematics,
mathematical
biology,
actuarial
mathematics,
statistics,
engineering
mathematics,
and
the
mathematics
of finance
with
the
broad
context
of mathematics
major.
Why
Chose
a
Mathematics
Major?
The
overriding
motivations
for
choosing
mathematics
as a
major
or choosing
any
subject
for
a major
for
that
matter
should
be a
natural
interest
in the
subject
and
a native
ability.
Most
history,
chemistry,
or philosophy
majors
do not
become
historians,
chemists,
or philosophers.
In a
similar
fashion
most
mathematics
majors
do not
become
mathematicians.
However,
students
are
naturally
and
rightfully
concerned
about
opportunities
after
graduation.
The
training
and
analytical
skills
acquired
by studying
mathematics
are
precisely
what
many
employers
professional
schools
are
looking
for.
At this
point
time
the
mathematics
major
to be
better
positioned
than
many
other
traditional
arts
and
science
majors
for
employment
in business,
industry,
governmental
agencies
and
teaching.
The
career
projects
are
particularly
bright
when
mathematics
major
is coupled
with
a background
in finance,
economics
or computer
science
and
good
writing
and
communication
skills.
The
2001
publication,
National
Business
Employment
Weekly
Jobs
Rated
Almanac,
rated
job
classifications
using
the
criteria
of income,
outlook,
security,
physical
demands,
stress,
and
work
environment.
Out
of 250
job
classifications,
the
top
six
were,
in descending
order:
financial
planner,
website
manager,
computer
systems
analyst,
actuary,
computer
programmer,
and
software
engineer.
Incredibly
all
of these
are
natural
positions
for
mathematics
graduates.
What
Do
Mathematics
Majors
Do
after
Graduation?
Mathematics
majors
take
jobs
as actuaries
or technical
analysts
with
insurance
companies
and
consulting
firms.
Banks,
investment
firms
and
trading
companies,
hire
many
mathematics
graduates.
In industry,
mathematicians
are
important
members
of multidisciplinary
teams
working
on complex
projects.
A number
of U.S.
Government
agencies
including
the
Air
Force,
Navy,
Bureau
of Census,
Central
Intelligence
Agency,
National
Bureau
of Standards,
NASA,
the
Environmental
Protection
Agency,
and
the
National
Security
Agency
hire
graduates
with
strong
mathematics
backgrounds.
Many
of these
positions
have
counterparts
at the
state
and
local
level
as well.
High
tech
firms
across
the
nation
hire
mathematics
graduates
as computer
programmers,
software
engineers,
and
information
technology
consultants.
Mathematicians
are
frequently
part
of operations
and
logistics
groups.
In many
cases
employers
have
found
mathematics
majors
bright
and
flexible
and
have
sought
them
for
positions
involving
considerable
on the
job
training
that
may
or may
not
make
direct
use
of mathematical
training.
It is
becoming
increasingly
common
for
mathematics
majors
to find
employment
in the
biomedical
and
public
health
fields.
The
following
websites
provide
information
on career
opportunities
as well
as career
profiles:
Several
pamphlets
contain
useful
information
about
careers
for
math
majors.
Among
these
are:

Mathematical
Scientists
at
Work;
These
are
essays
about
people
working
as
mathematicians
in
a
variety
of
jobs.
Careers
in
the
Mathematical
Sciences
and
More
Careers
in
the
Mathematical
Sciences
contain
shorter
essays
and
a
list
of
sources
of
additional
information;
25
cents
each.
The
Mathematical
Association
of
America,
1529
Eighteenth
St.,
NW,
Washington,
D.C.
20036.

Seeking
Employment
in
the
Mathematical
Sciences,
American
Mathematical
Society,
P.
O.
Box
1571,
Annex
Station,
Providence,
R.I.
02901.

Careers
in
Applied
Mathematics,
SIAM
(Society
for
Industrial
and
Applied
Mathematics),
3600
University
City
Science
Center,
Philadelphia,
PA.
19104.

101
Careers
in
Mathematics,
Andrew
Sterrett,
Ed.,
and
She
Does
Math!
Reallife
Problems
from
Women
on
the
Job,
Marla
Parker,
Ed.,
both
from
Math.
Association
of
America,
PO
Box
91112,
Washington,
D.C.
200901112.
Teaching
Opportunities
There
is currently
a strong
unmet
nationwide
demand
for
mathematics
teachers
at the
middle
and
secondary
school
level
and
considerable.
In many
cases
prior
teacher
certification
is not
a precondition
for
employment.
Two
attractive
federal
programs
Teach
for
America
for
teaching
in under
funded
urban
and
rural
schools
and
the
Peace
Corps
are
particularly
interested
in mathematics
majors.
Graduate
Studies
in
Other
Disciplines
and
Professional
Schools
Mathematics
is often
called
the
language
of science
and
as such
an undergraduate
degree
in mathematics
provide
an excellent
background
for
graduate
studies
in other
disciplines
that
use
mathematics.
Mathematics
students
pursue
graduate
work
in a
wide
variety
of fields
including
computer
science,
engineering,
physics,
meteorology,
statistics,
psychology,
political
science,
economics,
genetics,
forestry,
and
operations
research.
Not
only
do graduate
schools
of business
and
law
schools
welcome
mathematics
graduates,
but
also
they
in many
cases
actively
recruit
them.
Business
schools
value
the
strong
quantitative
background
and
law
schools
value
the
logic
and
analytical
reasoning
that
is the
foundation
of a
mathematics
education.
Medical
schools
view
mathematics
as a
strong
major.
Other
medical
related
professional
schools
regarding
a mathematics
degree
as a
strong
credential
include
schools
of optometry,
veterinary
medicine,
dentistry,
and
public
health.
Graduate
Studies
in
Mathematics
Graduate
work
in mathematics
can
be relevant
to any
of the
career
choices
previously
discussed
and
it is
absolutely
essential
for
careers
in teaching
above
the
high
school
level.
A PhD
is required
for
collegiate
level
teaching
and
all
teaching
beyond
the
baccalaureate
level
and
for
research.
Students
wishing
to attend
graduate
school
in mathematics
should
follow
as mathematically
intensive
degree
plan
as possible
with
a particular
attention
to theoretical
courses.
Excellent
support
opportunities
in the
form
of tuition
support
and
a stipend
for
living
expenses
exist
for
students
wishing
to attend
graduate
school
in mathematics.
Additional
Mathmatics
Career
Information
 The
complete
list
of
universities
in
USA
You
can
find
the
complete
list
of
USA
universities
by
the
States.

Advancing
Women

International
Business
&
Career
Network,
Strategy,
Employment
For
Women

AMS
Employment
&
Careers

AMS
employment
services.

Homepage
for
New
Math
Teachers

This
page
is
devoted
to
helping
new
math
teachers
and
new
teachers
in
general.
It
contains
many
suggestions,
resources,
math
problem
of
the
month,
information
about
multicultural
math
and
a
list
of
educational
math
sites.

The
Institute
for
Women
in
Trades,
Technology
&
Science
(IWITTS)

IWITTS
is
a
national
nonprofit
women's
organization
based
in
Alameda,
California.
IWITTS
provides
training
and
technical
assistance
nationally
to
the
education
system
and
to
employers
on
recruitment
and
retention
of
women
in
trades,
technology
and
science
occupations.

Mathematical
Sciences
Career
Information

AMS/MAA/SIAM
Project
for
Nonacademic
Employment

PhDs.Org
Science,
Math,
and
Engineering
Links

The
goals
of
this
project
are
to
help
scientists
prepare
for
the
changing
demands
of
today's
market,
to
facilitate
the
hiring
of
new
Ph.D.s,
and
to
provide
a
voice
to
early
career
scientists.

Professional
Opportunities
from
SIAM
News

Postings
from
SIAM
News

University
of
Illinois
at
Chicago
(UIC)
Employment
Resources
Guide

Resources
set
up
by
the
Department
of
Mathematics,
Statistics,
and
Computer
Science
at
UIC.

Women's
Wire

This
site
includes
a
listing
of
the
100
Best
Companies
for
Women.

Hints
on
Grant
Writing
(Raw
TeX,
DVI,
PS)

These
are
notes
of
the
grant
writing
discussion
section
led
by
Prof.
Joyce
McLaughlin
at
the
Julia
Robinson
conference
held
at
MSRI
on
July
1,
1996.
After
an
introductory
discussion
on
the
participants
and
general
funding
sources
to
consider,
the
group
discussed
various
issues
related
to
preparing
a
proposal,
submitting
a
proposal,
and
specific
NSF
programs.

Interviewing
and
Illegal
Interview
Questions:

Mathematics
genealogy
project.
High
School
Math
Contests
