What is Applied Mathematics?

Applied mathematics, which is related to computational mathematics, encompasses interdisciplinary topics in the physical, biological and engineering sciences. This field conducts new research in mathematical biology, which involves ecology, biochemistry, neuroscience, as well as climate modeling for global warming and atmospheric dynamics. Applied mathematicians may study nonlinear optics, numerical analysis, mathematical finance and nonlinear water waves.

Science Careers

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) states that there are potential careers in diverse areas. For example, systems biology, which involves the mapping of the human genome, and data mining, which involves the exploration of previously unknown information patterns. Applied mathematicians may work with materials science, which means they will study the properties of alloys, crystals and composites. They may work in the aerospace, electronics, engineering and nanotechnology manufacturing fields. Some may find work in the fields of ecology, climatology and epidemiology as professionals who analyze interactions in order to model them and identify solutions. For example, they may analyze the natural forces that impact ocean circulation and associated heat exchanges with land in order to better understand global warming.

Technology Careers

Applied mathematicians who enjoy information technology may find work as digital imaging and computer animation professionals. This interdisciplinary field relies on applied mathematicians to help create computer animation algorithms and programs that use advanced physics, anatomy, biomechanics and computational geometry concepts. Computer animation is utilized by traditional fields, like film and video games, and newer fields, like medical diagnostics, law enforcement and the fine arts. Those who deal with financial mathematics will develop quantitative techniques, computational models and sophisticated math models for banks, corporations, investment firms, insurance companies and government regulatory agencies. They will deliver solutions that support investment decisions, develop new financial securities and statistically identify and minimize risks.

Sample Job

A data scientist will develop innovative approaches to financial, procedural and operational challenges. They may create data analytics to provide better ways of doing business. This could include on ways better understand production inefficiencies, improve customer value modeling and implement new operational programs. They provide data science, business analytics and mathematical modeling expertise for projects. They may be asked to support operational transitions, risky investments and organizational adjustments through predictive modeling. Data scientists will communicate complex data results by creating and presenting advanced analytic reports for senior management. Some data scientists may spend most of their time conducting research in graph analysis, sampling methods, machine learning, numerical optimization, computational simulation and high-performance cyber-security.

Applied Skills

Anyone who works in the field of applied math must have analytical and technical skills. They should be comfortable working in corporate settings like experimental labs and interdisciplinary research and development environments. Employers want applied mathematicians who have experience with state-of-the-art software, data analysis tools, statistical models and programming concepts. Job hunters must have the demonstrated ability to acquire, evaluate and translate raw data into real-world information and deliverables. They should have leadership and team research experience, which is conveyed through participation in projects, committees, workshops and professional organizations. Almost all jobs will require experience with data science algorithms and coding languages like VBA and Python.

Applied mathematics is an interdisciplinary STEM field that combines technical prowess, numerical knowledge and computational skills to research, analyze and create solutions.

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