Mathematics

Mathematics plays an important role in many aspects of modern life. Every time you listen to a CD, you are benefiting from the way that the mathematics of error-correcting codes enables sound to be recorded reliably in digital form. When you watch a TV weather forecast, you are looking at the result of sophisticated mathematical modelling of the Earth’s atmosphere. Even artists have found inspiration in the beautiful and intricate fractal patterns, such as the Mandelbrot set, that emerge from surprisingly simple mathematical equations.

Mathematics provides the techniques and language to handle problems from a wide variety of disciplines. It has always been essential for engineering and the physical sciences and is becoming increasingly important in the life sciences and social sciences. Yet mathematics is not only studied because of its applications; it has a fascination and beauty of its own, characterised by precision and logical rigour.

Mathematics forms a rewarding, challenging and varied subject of study at university. It encompasses:

  • Mathematical methods: the tools used throughout mathematics and in many other disciplines;
  • Pure mathematics: the study of mathematical objects such as numbers, sets and functions, leading to precise statements and rigorous proofs of their general properties;
  • Applied mathematics: modelling and analysing phenomena ranging from the generation of the Sun's magnetic field to the formation of the spots on a leopard. Optimisation methods can also be used to solve commercial business problems;
  • Probability and statistics: investigating randomness and change, including pattern recognition and data modelling, with applications to fields as diverse as climate change, insurance and risk assessment.