Field of study

Applied mathematicians solve problems by simulating reality through models. They work on the optimisation of search engines, transport system timetables, climate models, and navigation systems, but they also work in the financial world and in the field of risk analysis. In other words, mathematicians are valuable in a variety of disciplines.

Financial mathematics

As with weather forecasts, it is difficult to make predictions for the financial market. This might include forecasting exchange rates and predicting life expectancy for pension funds and insurance companies. You will need to call on the whole array of modern mathematical methods in order to make appropriate predictions.

Mathematical physics

This discipline deals with the mathematical modelling of physical phenomena, such as vibrations in buildings, currents in oceans and rivers, weather forecasts and epidemics.

Numerical analysis

This discipline focuses on the development and implementation of efficient algorithms in complex mathematical methods and the simulation of real-life situations. This can include the modelling of wound healing and scar formation, modelling interactive currents for real-time ship simulation and the prevention of power cuts.


This discipline focuses on the development of mathematical methods to determine optimum solutions to practical problems. This might include delivery routes of perishable food, timetables for the rail network, logistical problems at airports, scheduling pulmonary examinations and the strategy for the Nuna solar car in South Africa.

Probability theory and statistics

This discipline focuses on modelling and predicting real-life problems in which uncertainty plays an important role. This can include risks involved with medical treatment or the chance of infection through blood transfusion. But it can also involve answering such questions as: does a new therapy work better than the old one? Or: does a certain testosterone level provide enough evidence to conclude that a cyclist has used performance drugs?

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