Careers In Mathematics (CIM) & Research In Mathematics (RIM)
Mathematics is traditionally known as a challenging subject and there are different layers of the stigma around it. One of which is the saying that “mathematics does not have jobs” and this, on its own, discourages learners to pursue mathematics as a career option. A natural way of dealing with this specific problem is to “show and tell”. Thus, when conducting the “Careers in Mathematics” talks, we invite mathematicians and other professional which are associated with mathematics from various sectors to share with learners, teachers and the community at large about their careers.
We usually invite mathematicians who are academics and industry-based mathematician. Further, we invite professionals whose careers are partially or fully dependent on mathematics (for example; computer scientists & engineers) and professional whose careers are gate kept (at least at matric or exit level of high school) by mathematics (for example; Doctors and CA’s etc.). They share the importance of mathematics in their chosen occupations. The “Careers in Mathematics” programme used to be done on physical basis1 in the sense that we would group schools (and surrounding community members) in a certain rural/location to a central venue and invite speakers over. Hence drawing the public’s attention to mathematics as a career option.
With the shortage of academic mathematicians, especially from rural areas and locations, we hope that this awareness programme will yield good results in a long-run; for example, increase the mathematics university enrolment and therefore increase the throughput of mathematics graduates from the aforementioned backgrounds. The vision is that, in the process, this will ameliorate the problem of underrepresentation of the academic mathematicians from the specified group. Moreover, we will have more industry-based mathematicians who are taking part in the practical advancement/utilisation of technology, making a contribution towards the revolution that seems to appreciate the creation of new technology at a fast rate. Therefore, this project ultimately feeds into both the advancement of mathematics and into advancement of humans’ day-to-day lives. Under “Research In Mathematics” (RIM) we speak to researchers (postgraduate student and academics) in mathematics and surrounding areas. In layman’s term, they tell us about their research and its significance to mathematics and/or in real life. Again, we hope that this should at very least bring awareness about mathematics research and therefore answer the famous question “what is there to research about in mathematics?”. A slightly bigger picture about this part of the programme is the popularisation of mathematics and the academic path as a career thereof.
1With the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the programme online. We usually have conversations with mathematicians & mathematics-associated professionals via website Here and following planforms: