Historically, Mathematics arises out of a human need to develop general techniques for solving practical problems. For this reason, high-school pupils are exposed largely to the kind of mathematics that lends itself to application in physics, elementary statistics, biology, engineering, computer science and other disciplines
Over the last 300 years, however, it has become clear that mathematics is an important subject in its own right, and not just a slave to other disciplines. Scientists have become aware that in order to develop powerful problem-solving tools, one needs quite ‘abstract’ mathematics; a body of pure mathematics is required which can be studied independently of physics, biology and other user-disciplines.
Pure and Applied Mathematics are therefore offered as different subjects, although there is much interdependence between them and each serves as an inspiration to the other.
Our first year Mathematics modules (Math 110/120) attempt to bridge the gap between ‘maths for use in other subjects’ and ‘maths as a discipline in its own right’. Applicable topics such as calculus, linear algebra and introductory combinatorics are taught, but as the course progresses, there is a gradual increase in the rigour with which these topics are treated, thereby ensuring that the students have exposure both to the activities of the pure mathematician and to the techniques required by the applied mathematician and other scientists.
Thus at second year level, the student is in a reasonable position to select either pure or applied mathematical courses for specialization or as a background to other major subjects.
A student who chooses to proceed to level 2 and/or level 3 Mathematics modules will study such topics as advanced calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra mathematical analysis and topology.