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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Swarthmore Adds Applied Mathematics Concentration for Math Majors | applied mathematics - Swarthmore Phoenix

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Swarthmore recently announced the new applied mathematics major, a special math concentration utilizing conventional math for use in more specialized fields in many disciplines, including biology, engineering, and physics, continues Swarthmore Phoenix.

Photo: Swarthmore Phoenix

On February 8, mathematics professors Nsoki Mavinga and Joshua Goldwyn held an info session for the new emphasis for majors and minors in the Science Center. 

“Pure mathematics, statistics, and applied mathematics provide the three primary specializations within the mathematical sciences,” said Professor Victor Barranca. “Considering the higher level facets of applied mathematics are distinct from both pure mathematics and statistics, the department considered it important to represent this specialization in its curriculum. Past course offerings in applied mathematics have been met with great enthusiasm, and a diverse body of students has expressed a strong desire to delve deeper into the discipline.” 

While applied math focuses on the use of the subject in conventional professions, the regular math major is based more on theory — with more emphasis on proofs and explanations. 

“Applied math fits well in a liberal arts setting because it is interdisciplinary in nature, and provides opportunities for students to explore connections between their coursework in mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, and other fields,” said Professor Goldwyn. “The applied math option provides an additional route through the math major that may appeal to some students with an interest in this area of mathematics.”...

According to Professor Barranca, what distinguishes the statistics concentration from the applied math concentration is the perspectives and techniques used to approach issues.

“Since the real-world applications that motivate mathematical endeavors are inherently complicated, applied mathematics often involves constructing models to capture the essence of phenomena and uses them to make predictions or understand underlying mechanisms,” said Barranca. “In applications that directly involve data, applied mathematics and statistics demonstrate particular synergy, granting a complementary set of tools commonly used together in important emerging interdisciplinary fields, ranging from atmospheric science to machine learning to computational biology.”

Source: Swarthmore Phoenix