What Is Mathematics?
The Department of Mathematics in Nagoya University School of Science is the department majoring in mathematics and mathematical sciences.
The origins of mathematics can be traced back to ancient Greece.
Among the many disciplines studied at university, mathematics is one of the oldest.
We sometimes hear, “If mathematics is that old, surely all the problems have been solved, and there is nothing left to do.”
This is a big mistake.
Every advance in mathematics brings new problems.
Mathematicians and mathematical scientists are constantly at work on new problems.
New theorems developed to solve these problems, and new perspectives gained in solving them generate new problems.
Some students might think, “I’d like to do mathematical research, but it seems like no problems remain to be solved.”
Be assured, there are plenty of problems left to solve.
“If I study a theoretical discipline such as mathematics, are you sure it will help me gain employment?” is another frequent question.
Actually, demand for mathematics and mathematical sciences in industry is expanding rapidly.
For example, the study of mathematics helps one develop the ability to handle abstract thinking.
Finding employment in the business world following graduation from the Department of Mathematics, or upon completion of the graduate school doctoral program, is not a problem.
Skills acquired in the Department of Mathematics can be widely used in the world of business and industry.
Overview of the Educational Program
- First Year
- At Nagoya University, students do not belong to a particular department in their first year after entering the School of Science.
As a School of Science student, they are expected to acquire basic knowledge in the natural sciences and other areas.
As part of this process, Calculus I and II (dealing with differentiation and integration of functions) and Linear Algebra I and II (dealing with matrices and vectors) are presented as common to all areas of mathematics.
Furthermore, Exercises in Mathematics I and II, presented in small classes, and Perspectives in Mathematics I and II, provide a broad perspective of one aspect of modern mathematics.
These are specialized programs presented by the Department of Mathematics for first-year School of Science students.
In practice, it is extremely important to improve one’s understanding of mathematics before advancing to the Department of Mathematics.
Students wishing to enter the Department are encouraged to take the courses mentioned above to deepen their knowledge of mathematics and to experience the pleasures of the discipline.
- The Second and Third Years
- Entry into the Department of Mathematics is decided for Year 2.
A comprehensive study of mathematics then begins.
In the first semester of Year 2, calculus and linear algebra are revisited in a more theoretical context, and study is directed at the basic abstract concepts of sets and general topology, and groups.
This is followed by various courses in such fields as algebra, geometry, and analysis.
The wide scope of modern mathematics becomes clearer as the student progresses.
As this is revealed, the joy and excitement of mathematics is immeasurable.
- Fourth Year
- Graduation research begins in, the final year of the Department of Mathematics.
Students work in small groups under the guidance of a single faculty advisor.
Lectures include courses conducted in common with the graduate school.
Students’ understanding of mathematics becomes broader and deeper in this program.
Characteristics of the Department of Mathematics Educational Program
- Independence and initiative in a student are strongly encouraged.
We provide a system to support the student in independent study.
The office hours system is one example.
All teaching staff are available weekly at a fixed time and place to respond to student questions, and for advice and consultation.
- A curriculum is available to respond to students with a wide range of requirements.
Course registration is not simply determined in accordance with the academic year, but the levels of academic abilities and interests of each student.
‘Course Design’ written by each lecturer will help the student to decide which lectures should be taken.
- The faculty considers teaching as a duty of ultimate importance.
For example, a questionnaire on all lecture programs offered by the Department has been used since 2002 to elicit student opinions in order to raise the quality of the instruction provided.
- Course work in small groups is a major characteristic of the educational program of the Department of Mathematics.
The opportunity to study in small groups, in seminars and graduation research, for example, is provided every year, along with the chance to learn from faculty active on the cutting edge of research.