A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.
--- G. K. Hardy (from A Mathematician's Apology, London 1941)
What Do Mathematicians Do?
Mathematicians are often asked by friends, family, colleagues in other fields, and strangers: "What do mathematicians do?" Mathematicians make it possible to send secure emails and buy things online. Mathematicians are essential to analyze data and design accurate models in fields as diverse as biology and finance. Because of the prevalence of the computer at work and at play, mathematicians will continue to touch everyone in modern society.
Many people are familiar with mathematicians in academia, but mathematicians also work in many other fields, including:
- Astronomy and space exploration
- Climate study
- National security
- Animated films