Faculty of Mathematics and Computer ScienceMathematics

Students of Mathematics acquire the skill of abstract thinking required to understand mathematical texts as well as the mathematical terminology that is necessary to ensure precise communication. On this basis, they further learn to independently acquire, apply and develop mathematical methods

Mathematics has always had two roles: Originally developed thanks to observations of real objects in order to combat the practical needs associated with measurements and counting, it has been both a theoretical and application-oriented science for centuries. 

Mathematics is considered a “pure” science in the case of problems and questions that emerge from the discipline itself and which mathematicians then attempt to solve. The subject Mathematics teaches students to approach problems from a rigorously rational perspective and identify underlying structures. The focus of mathematical theories is the analysis of correlations between differing structures and the analysis of assumptions and consequences.  

However, research in Mathematics is also grounded in concrete applications. Many mathematical subdomains developed from questions associated with physics or other natural sciences. Conversely, the application of mathematical methods and approaches to rapidly and efficiently solve many problems in natural sciences, medicine, engineering, information science, business studies and economics, computer science and the humanities has always played a key role in Mathematics. Nowadays, the use of modern computers is becoming increasingly important in the development of said methods.

Special Features and Characteristics

Mathematics in Heidelberg is characterised by the close link between theory and practice as well as between the individual subdomains. The cross-domain research focus in Pure Mathematics is on arithmetic and geometry. Applied Mathematics is characterised by its interdisciplinary focus. Numerous research groups currently work in the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR). The MAThematics Center Heidelberg (MATCH) was established in the context of the Excellence Initiative. Its aim is to pool all activity in the department and to function as the umbrella organisation for cross-domain research and promotion of junior researchers. 

The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science considers itself one of the leading departments for Mathematics in Germany. This assessment is corroborated by the results of numerous evaluations and rankings. Mathematics in Heidelberg has a wide-reaching international network with numerous cooperation agreements and research projects with institutes around the world. This also greatly benefits students as they can participate in a large number of international exchange programmes.

Research

In comparison to other mathematics departments, research in the department in Heidelberg is characterised by above-average external funding. The Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences at the IWR was procured under significant participation of faculty members in the context of the Excellence Initiative. In addition, there are numerous cooperation agreements under the umbrella of interdisciplinary projects in other departments. In 2007, the MAThematics Center Heidelberg (MATCH) was re-established with the goal of promoting cooperative partnerships within the discipline as well as with its applications. Arithmetic and scientific computing are among the main research foci in Heidelberg. Furthermore, Mathematics and Computer Science in Heidelberg have numerous cooperation agreements and research projects with institutes around the world. 

The special fields for Mathematics in Heidelberg are 

  • Algebra and Number Theory 
  • Geometry and Topology 
  • Analysis and Applied Analysis 
  • Numerical Mathematics and Optimisation 
  • Probability Theory and Statistics 
  • Theoretical Computer Science and Mathematical Logic

Occupational Areas

Mathematicians have very broad job descriptions as the academic programme conveys methodological qualifications that, irrespective of the content of the programme, can be applied in almost any field. In addition to teaching positions at schools and universities, graduates have numerous options depending on the focus of their area of application and their additional skills 

  • Banks and insurance providers (e.g. management accounting, customer analyses, financial products) 
  • Research and development in businesses and research institutions 
  • Software development 
  • Business consultancy 
  • IT/organisation 
  • Statistics 

What many of these jobs have in common is working in teams with scientists, economists, engineers and medical professionals. 

Insights

I have been fascinated by mathematics ever since school. Here at university, I can learn how to systematically approach a problem. I also enjoy the emphasis on teamwork. And, in addition, I will have many career options when I graduate.

Emre Karahan, 26, Mathematics, 2nd semester Master