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Advanced Instruction in Practical Mathematics

Nature volume 158, pages 690692 (16 November 1946) | Download Citation



ALL who wattfed the development of industrial research recent decades and those who, during their, had an opportunity of observing work in parernment research departments, must realizerth t the usual academic syllabus in mathematics Vibes not provide an adequate preparation for a la tyre research worker in Government service or industry. Students, for example, of engineering (with which we include, for the sake of brevity in this article, physics, chemistry, etc.), biology or economics, do not get, as a rule, a mathematical training sufficiently advanced to enable them to follow up, and participate in, recent research in their subjects; and the training of students of mathematics is not very suitable for the type of work we have in mind. The truth is that in recent decades there has grown up a new type of research worker—Dr. N. W. McLachlan has called him the mathematical technologist—and so far British universities have not provided very much for him. An urgent need thus arises for an institution where students are instructed in advanced mathematical techniques not usually included in university curricula, yet needed in ‘mathematical technology’ (and mathematical biology or economics for that matter) and where they are introduced to research. The need for such an institution, which we may call an ‘Institute for Practical Mathematics’, was pointed out in a recent article1 which, evaluating the war-time experience of the Admiralty Computing Service, came to the conclusion that such an institution is necessary both to teach potential ‘customers’ of the industrial mathematician to state their problems in a suitable way, and also to ensure that the mathematician will be able to tackle these problems in a practical manner.

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  1. 1.

    , and , , Nature, 157, 571 (May 4, 1946).

  2. 2.

    See, for example, , "University Training of Mathematicians", Math. Gaz., 30, 61 (1946).

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