主 题: Fewer Walls, More Bridges
报告人: Martin Groetschel (Professor at TU Berlin)
时 间: 2013-10-12 18:00-19:00
地 点: Lecture Hall, Second Floor, Jia Yi Bing Building, 82 Jing Chun Yuan, PKU (Distinguished Lecture Series)
On the occasion of a 100th anniversary of a mathematical institute one may dare to very briefly review the history of mathematics in the past century and to speculate about its future development. This is what I will attempt to do in my lecture.
It is my firm belief that mathematics will become the most important scientific endeavor of the 21st century. The reason for this conviction is twofold. Mathematics is strongly entering into every scientific and technological area now, e.g., every technology needs or will need the support of mathematics via a combination of mathematical modeling, simulation, and optimization. The (meanwhile generally accepted) necessity to treat the world’s resources with care, to produce everything efficiently, and to develop a sustainable lifestyle will change the goals of our nations and societies and the focus of most human activities, and it will force more rationality into political and economic decision making. Mathematics will be an indispensable part of all these processes.
The development I hope for will not proceed automatically. To go in the right direction, cooperation and collaboration are necessary; nothing will be achieved without new insights and significant efforts on all sides. Mathematics has to change as well, of course. We have to be more open to society needs, we have to support other sciences in their attempts to understand their aspects of the world, and we have to contribute to the well-being of the world by developing the mathematical tools needed and by applying them. This means that we have to build more bridges within the various mathematical disciplines and, more importantly, towards all those who seek for our support (and may not even know that yet). This, moreover, means that the walls within mathematics that have been erected in the last century need to be torn down as well as the walls which mathematics built to separate itself from the real world.
I am aware that the statements above may be viewed as quite pretentious. In my lecture I will make an effort to substantiate some of my claims. I will call for a rethinking of our goals concerning mathematical education and research as well as our attitude towards applications and collaboration with others.