All the modern industries and services can only develop on the basis of mathematics, and all economies need mathematicians. Meanwhile, the number of mathematicians in Vietnam remains modest.
Dr Le Tuan Hoa (left) and Prof Efim Zelmanov
The boundary between mathematics and technology is blurry
Speaking at the opening session of the International Conference on Mathematics and Applications (ICMA 2011) held in HCM City in mid December, Professor Efim Zelmanov, the Field medal winner in 1994, mathematics is an indispensable part of the modern technological advances. Mathematics has been present everywhere from medicine, biology, automation and communication technology sector to the financial model. The boundary between pure mathematics and technology has become increasingly blurred, and a country like Vietnam needs mathematicians in its development.
Meanwhile, the questions about the demand and the future of mathematics in Vietnam, about how many mathematicians Vietnam needs for its socio-economic and scientific development remains unanswered. Therefore, a lot of people have raised their doubts about the efficiency of the policy focusing on mathematics development, saying that this would be a great waste to send the most talented people to mathematics studies.
In a paper written for a workshop on mathematical training in Vietnam, Dr Nguyen Tien Dung, who teaches at the University of Toulouse, France, said all organizations and large enterprises need qualified mathematicians at the postgraduate level to participate in their studies of technical issues and financial strategies.
Dung emphasized that this would be the way Vietnam needs to follow in the next decades, if Vietnam wants to catch up with the pace of other countries in the world.
Meanwhile, the number of people with high qualification in mathematics in Vietnam remains small, while mathematicians’ contribution to the society remains modest, and big organizations and enterprises in Vietnam still do not have mathematicians.
The paradox of Vietnam’s mathematics
All the modern industries and services can only develop on the basis of mathematics, and all economies need mathematicians. However, as Le Tuan Hoa, Chair of the Vietnam Mathematicians’ Association admitted, to date no mathematics research work has been applied in a large scale in the economy.
Therefore, ICMA 2011 is expected to serve as the cooperation forum for mathematicians and scientists in the world who are working in the fields relating to mathematics, including economics and finance.
Dr Nguyen Van Luan, President of the Economics and Law University said he hopes the conference would push up the exchange among mathematicians and those applying mathematics inside and outside Vietnam.
Hoa said that Vietnam’s mathematics have very encouraging achievements in the last few years, but the development of Vietnam’s mathematics remains very modest if compared with the big leaps made in the world. Vietnam now has 1000 mathematics PhDs, and only 200 of them still keep following mathematics studies.
According to Hoa, the US Microsoft Group has 1000 mathematicians coming all over the world, while every conference in South Korea can gather hundreds of mathematicians. South Korea began developing mathematics at the starting point lower than Vietnam, but it has made a big leap over the last 30 years.
“If Vietnam does not improve its mathematics, especially the way of teaching and learning mathematics at schools, Vietnam would still lag far behind other countries,” Hoa warned.
Professor Ngo Viet Trung said on the sideline of the workshop, that one of the biggest problems that makes scientific research works’ applications unable to prove their ability, is the lack of the driving force. Most private businesses have small scale of operation, while big economic groups would rather buy applications from foreign countries than ordering domestic researchers. It is really a pity that this is the situation of many scientific research fields, not only mathematics.
Source: SGTT/ VNN
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