Posted by: Administrator | 13/10/2009

From Kirill Mackenzie 2

I did not enter the debate when the proposed merger with the IMA was under discussion, so here is a brief record of my views, as a candidate for election to Council as a Member-at-Large.

I was against the proposed merger, well before the detail of the process emerged, because of the dangers inherent in having a single structure speaking for all of mathematics.

In understanding the mismatch it may be better not to think in terms of `applied’ and `pure’ mathematics. At undergraduate level – and thus for many people who took a mathematics degree but are now outside universities – much `applied mathematics’ (not all) is simply classical mathematics, of equal importance to all mathematicians. `Applied Mathematicians’ may teach this material in a classical 19th century style, and `pure mathematicans’ in a mid 20th century style, but the main thing is that students be exposed to both styles of working.

At research level the distinction is better thought of as between `commercial mathematics’ and `independent mathematics’. Commercial mathematics involves substantial financial backing and with this inevitably comes a requirement to formulate and deliver definite aims, and specific controls arise dictated by government policies of the moment, either directly or through agencies.

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