Mathematician
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Occupation  

Occupation type  Academic 
Description  
Competencies  Mathematics, analytical skills and critical thinking skills 
Education required  Doctoral degree, occasionally master's degree 
Fields of employment  universities, private corporations, financial industry, government 
Related jobs  statistician, actuary 
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Mathematics  



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A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems. Mathematicians are concerned with numbers, data, quantity, structure, space, models, and change.
History
One of the earliest known mathematicians was Thales of Miletus (c. 624 – c. 546 BC); he has been hailed as the first true mathematician and the first known individual to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed.^{[1]} He is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales's theorem.
The number of known mathematicians grew when Pythagoras of Samos (c. 582 – c. 507 BC) established the Pythagorean school, whose doctrine it was that mathematics ruled the universe and whose motto was "All is number".^{[2]} It was the Pythagoreans who coined the term "mathematics", and with whom the study of mathematics for its own sake begins.
The first woman mathematician recorded by history was Hypatia of Alexandria (c. AD 350 – 415). She succeeded her father as librarian at the Great Library and wrote many works on applied mathematics. Because of a political dispute, the Christian community in Alexandria punished her, presuming she was involved, by stripping her naked and scraping off her skin with clamshells (some say roofing tiles).^{[3]}
Science and mathematics in the Islamic world during the Middle Ages followed various models and modes of funding varied based primarily on scholars. It was extensive patronage and strong intellectual policies implemented by specific rulers that allowed scientific knowledge to develop in many areas. Funding for translation of scientific texts in other languages was ongoing throughout the reign of certain caliphs,^{[4]} and it turned out that certain scholars became experts in the works they translated, and in turn received further support for continuing to develop certain sciences. As these sciences received wider attention from the elite, more scholars were invited and funded to study particular sciences. An example of a translator and mathematician who benefited from this type of support was alKhawarizmi. A notable feature of many scholars working under Muslim rule in medieval times is that they were often polymaths. Examples include the work on optics, maths and astronomy of Ibn alHaytham.
The Renaissance brought an increased emphasis on mathematics and science to Europe. During this period of transition from a mainly feudal and ecclesiastical culture to a predominantly secular one, many notable mathematicians had other occupations: Luca Pacioli (founder of accounting); Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (notable engineer and bookkeeper); Gerolamo Cardano (earliest founder of probability and binomial expansion); Robert Recorde (physician) and François Viète (lawyer).
As time passed, many mathematicians gravitated towards universities. An emphasis on free thinking and experimentation had begun in Britain's oldest universities beginning in the seventeenth century at Oxford with the scientists Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle, and at Cambridge where Isaac Newton was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics & Physics. Moving into the 19th century, the objective of universities all across Europe evolved from teaching the "regurgitation of knowledge" to "encourag[ing] productive thinking."^{[5]} In 1810, Humboldt convinced the king of Prussia, Fredrick William III, to build a university in Berlin based on Friedrich Schleiermacher's liberal ideas; the goal was to demonstrate the process of the discovery of knowledge and to teach students to "take account of fundamental laws of science in all their thinking." Thus, seminars and laboratories started to evolve.^{[6]}
British universities of this period adopted some approaches familiar to the Italian and German universities, but as they already enjoyed substantial freedoms and autonomy the changes there had begun with the Age of Enlightenment, the same influences that inspired Humboldt. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge emphasized the importance of research, arguably more authentically implementing Humboldt's idea of a university than even German universities, which were subject to state authority.^{[7]} Overall, science (including mathematics) became the focus of universities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students could conduct research in seminars or laboratories and began to produce doctoral theses with more scientific content.^{[8]} According to Humboldt, the mission of the University of Berlin was to pursue scientific knowledge.^{[9]} The German university system fostered professional, bureaucratically regulated scientific research performed in wellequipped laboratories, instead of the kind of research done by private and individual scholars in Great Britain and France.^{[10]} In fact, Rüegg asserts that the German system is responsible for the development of the modern research university because it focused on the idea of "freedom of scientific research, teaching and study."^{[11]}
Required education
Mathematicians usually cover a breadth of topics within mathematics in their undergraduate education, and then proceed to specialize in topics of their own choice at the graduate level. In some universities, a qualifying exam serves to test both the breadth and depth of a student's understanding of mathematics; the students who pass are permitted to work on a doctoral dissertation.
Activities
Applied mathematics
Mathematicians involved with solving problems with applications in real life are called applied mathematicians. Applied mathematicians are mathematical scientists who, with their specialized knowledge and professional methodology, approach many of the imposing problems presented in related scientific fields. With professional focus on a wide variety of problems, theoretical systems, and localized constructs, applied mathematicians work regularly in the study and formulation of mathematical models. Mathematicians and applied mathematicians are considered to be two of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers.^{[citation needed]}
The discipline of applied mathematics concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry; thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge. The term "applied mathematics" also describes the professional specialty in which mathematicians work on problems, often concrete but sometimes abstract. As professionals focused on problem solving, applied mathematicians look into the formulation, study, and use of mathematical models in science, engineering, business, and other areas of mathematical practice.
Pure mathematics
Pure mathematics is mathematics that studies entirely abstract concepts. From the eighteenth century onwards, this was a recognized category of mathematical activity, sometimes characterized as speculative mathematics,^{[12]} and at variance with the trend towards meeting the needs of navigation, astronomy, physics, economics, engineering, and other applications.
Another insightful view put forth is that pure mathematics is not necessarily applied mathematics: it is possible to study abstract entities with respect to their intrinsic nature, and not be concerned with how they manifest in the real world.^{[13]} Even though the pure and applied viewpoints are distinct philosophical positions, in practice there is much overlap in the activity of pure and applied mathematicians.
To develop accurate models for describing the real world, many applied mathematicians draw on tools and techniques that are often considered to be "pure" mathematics. On the other hand, many pure mathematicians draw on natural and social phenomena as inspiration for their abstract research.
Mathematics teaching
Many professional mathematicians also engage in the teaching of mathematics. Duties may include:
 teaching university mathematics courses;
 supervising undergraduate and graduate research; and
 serving on academic committees.
Consulting
Many careers in mathematics outside of universities involve consulting. For instance, actuaries assemble and analyze data to estimate the probability and likely cost of the occurrence of an event such as death, sickness, injury, disability, or loss of property. Actuaries also address financial questions, including those involving the level of pension contributions required to produce a certain retirement income and the way in which a company should invest resources to maximize its return on investments in light of potential risk. Using their broad knowledge, actuaries help design and price insurance policies, pension plans, and other financial strategies in a manner which will help ensure that the plans are maintained on a sound financial basis.
As another example, mathematical finance will derive and extend the mathematical or numerical models without necessarily establishing a link to financial theory, taking observed market prices as input. Mathematical consistency is required, not compatibility with economic theory. Thus, for example, while a financial economist might study the structural reasons why a company may have a certain share price, a financial mathematician may take the share price as a given, and attempt to use stochastic calculus to obtain the corresponding value of derivatives of the stock (see: Valuation of options; Financial modeling).
Occupations
According to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles occupations in mathematics include the following.^{[14]}
 Mathematician
 OperationsResearch Analyst
 Mathematical Statistician
 Mathematical Technician
 Actuary
 Applied Statistician
 Weight Analyst
Prizes in mathematics
There is no Nobel Prize in mathematics, though sometimes mathematicians have won the Nobel Prize in a different field, such as economics or physics. Prominent prizes in mathematics include the Abel Prize, the Chern Medal, the Fields Medal, the Gauss Prize, the Nemmers Prize, the Balzan Prize, the Crafoord Prize, the Shaw Prize, the Steele Prize, the Wolf Prize, the Schock Prize, and the Nevanlinna Prize.
The American Mathematical Society, Association for Women in Mathematics, and other mathematical societies offer several prizes aimed at increasing the representation of women and minorities in the future of mathematics.
Mathematical autobiographies
Several well known mathematicians have written autobiographies in part to explain to a general audience what it is about mathematics that has made them want to devote their lives to its study. These provide some of the best glimpses into what it means to be a mathematician. The following list contains some works that are not autobiographies, but rather essays on mathematics and mathematicians with strong autobiographical elements.
 The Book of My Life – Girolamo Cardano^{[15]}
 A Mathematician's Apology  G.H. Hardy^{[16]}
 A Mathematician's Miscellany (republished as Littlewood's miscellany)  J. E. Littlewood^{[17]}
 I Am a Mathematician  Norbert Wiener^{[18]}
 I Want to be a Mathematician  Paul R. Halmos
 Adventures of a Mathematician  Stanislaw Ulam^{[19]}
 Enigmas of Chance  Mark Kac^{[20]}
 Random Curves  Neal Koblitz
 Love and Math  Edward Frenkel
 Mathematics Without Apologies  Michael Harris^{[21]}
See also
 Lists of mathematicians
 List of films about mathematicians
 Human computer – Person performing mathematical calculations, before calculators became available
 Mathematical joke – Humor about mathematics or mathematicians
 A Mathematician's Apology – 1940 essay by British mathematician G. H. Hardy
 Men of Mathematics – Popular history book of mathematics by E.T. Bell
 Mental calculator – Person exceptionally skilled at mathematical mental calculations
 Timeline of ancient Greek mathematicians
Notes
 ^ Boyer 1991, p. 43.
 ^ Boyer 1991, p. 49.
 ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: Socrates Scholasticus: The Murder of Hypatia (late 4th Cent.) from Ecclesiastical History, Bk VI: Chap. 15". Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Archived from the original on 20140814. Retrieved 20141119.
 ^ Abattouy, Renn & Weinig 2001.^{[page needed]}
 ^ Röhrs, "The Classical Idea of the University", Tradition and Reform of the University under an International Perspective p.20
 ^ Rüegg 2004, pp. 5–6.
 ^ Rüegg 2004, p. 12.
 ^ Rüegg 2004, p. 13.
 ^ Rüegg 2004, p. 16.
 ^ Rüegg 2004, pp. 17–18.
 ^ Rüegg 2004, p. 31.
 ^ See for example titles of works by Thomas Simpson from the mid18th century: Essays on Several Curious and Useful Subjects in Speculative and Mixed Mathematicks, Miscellaneous Tracts on Some Curious and Very Interesting Subjects in Mechanics, Physical Astronomy and Speculative Mathematics.Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 135.
 ^ Andy Magid, Letter from the Editor, in Notices of the AMS, November 2005, American Mathematical Society, p.1173. [1] Archived 20160303 at the Wayback Machine
 ^ "020 OCCUPATIONS IN MATHEMATICS". Dictionary Of Occupational Titles. Archived from the original on 20121102. Retrieved 20130120.
 ^ Cardano, Girolamo (2002), The Book of My Life (De Vita Propria Liber), The New York Review of Books, ISBN 1590170164
 ^ Hardy 2012
 ^ Littlewood, J. E. (1990) [Originally A Mathematician's Miscellany published in 1953], Béla Bollobás (ed.), Littlewood's miscellany, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 052133702 X
 ^ Wiener, Norbert (1956), I Am a Mathematician / The Later Life of a Prodigy, The M.I.T. Press, ISBN 0262730073
 ^ Ulam, S. M. (1976), Adventures of a Mathematician, Charles Scribner's Sons, ISBN 0684143917
 ^ Kac, Mark (1987), Enigmas of Chance / An Autobiography, University of California Press, ISBN 0520059867
 ^ Harris, Michael (2015), Mathematics without apologies / portrait of a problematic vocation, Princeton University Press, ISBN 9780691154237
Bibliography
 Abattouy, Mohammed; Renn, Jürgen; Weinig, Paul (2001). "Transmission as Transformation: The Translation Movements in the Medieval East and West in a Comparative Perspective". Science in Context. 14 (1–2). Cambridge University Press: 1–12. doi:10.1017/S0269889701000011. S2CID 145190232.
 Boyer (1991). A History of Mathematics.
 Dunham, William (1994). The Mathematical Universe. John Wiley.
 Halmos, Paul (1985). I Want to Be a Mathematician. SpringerVerlag.
 Hardy, G.H. (2012) [1940]. A Mathematician's Apology (Reprinted with foreword ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107604636. OCLC 942496876.
 Rüegg, Walter (2004). "Themes". In Rüegg, Walter (ed.). A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521361071.
Further reading
 Krantz, Steven G. (2012), A Mathematician comes of age, The Mathematical Association of America, ISBN 9780883855782
External links
 Occupational Outlook: Mathematicians. Information on the occupation of mathematician from the US Department of Labor.
 Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Careers in Mathematics. Although UScentric, a useful resource for anyone interested in a career as a mathematician. Learn what mathematicians do on a daily basis, where they work, how much they earn, and more.
 The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive Archived 20191114 at the Wayback Machine. A comprehensive list of detailed biographies.
 The Mathematics Genealogy Project Archived 20090219 at the Wayback Machine. Allows scholars to follow the succession of thesis advisors for most mathematicians, living or dead.
 Weisstein, Eric W. "Unsolved Problems". MathWorld.
 Middle School Mathematician Project Short biographies of select mathematicians assembled by middle school students.
 Career Information for Students of Math and Aspiring Mathematicians^{[permanent dead link]} from MathMajor