Dr. Mayank Vahia is the Dean at NMIMS School of Mathematical Sciences, Mumbai. Having a penchant for Mathematics, he elaborates what makes it the most beautiful subject to study. At its core, Mathematics is a language, a language in which humans and Nature speak to each other. Like all languages, Mathematics is a multifaceted subject.
At the School of Mathematical Sciences, we want students to appreciate, understand and internalise the various mathematical ideas. The administration of the school is based on the concept of maximum support and minimum interference.
Coming back to his fondness towards the subject, he explains the primary purpose of education is to educate, give students an understanding of the foundational ideas in Mathematics.
He believes that the focus of the school should aim to be the one of the best in the world. The motto of the institution is “Think Mathematics” and “Think in Mathematics”. On a concluding note he shares that the idea is to empower both teachers and students to wander around in this vast field of human learning.
Mathematics as a subject in its own is versatile and has multitude of applications
Mathematics is a multidimensional subject. At one level, it is a language with unprecedented precision and rigour, something that no other language can offer. At another level, it is the language of choice of nature. It is also the most useful tool to help design and make instruments and optimise business. Mathematics is a subject whose knowledge will allow you to go to any other field but coming to Mathematics from other fields is a daunting task.
At the School of Mathematical Sciences, we want students to appreciate, understand and internalise the various mathematical ideas and structures such that they learn to instinctively translate any problem in its mathematical form and hence find insights that other approaches to the problem cannot even fathom. Therefore, the syllabus is a mix of pure and applied mathematics, statistics and computer programming taken as an integrated structure.
The highlight of the Honours’ programme is that in the third year, the students are invited to explore how mathematics is used in any field of human learning from fine arts, performing arts to social sciences, economics, physical science, mathematics and education. In the sixth semester they will be asked to undertake a project on mathematics providing new insights into the subject of their choice. This will help students appreciate the versatility and power of mathematics.
The administration of our school is based on the concept of maximum support and minimum interference
The administration of our school is based on the concept of maximum support and minimum interference. Having chosen an excellent faculty, helping them grow is the approach we take.
The School believes that our students are the best ambassadors of our programme. While the School takes steps to inform the students about its programmes, the school will focus on excellence of performance by our students.
We articulate the purpose of pragmatism in Mathematics and help build the confidence of the students
The primary purpose of education is to educate, give students an understanding of the foundational ideas in Mathematics, help them work out how versatile Mathematics is in engaging mind and reality, and give them the confidence that there is no problem that they cannot handle or no idea they cannot learn. Teaching should be to help them understand the ideas but not curtail their freedom to think.
How quickly we adapt and with what confidence highlights the paradigm of modern day education
Life expectancy of unused knowledge is only 3 years, the relevance of what you learn today is less than 10 years. Thus it is more important to give students flexibility, confidence and capability to adapt to changing reality should be the highlight of modern education. Anyone can acquire information as needed for success, provided they know how to acquire this knowledge and the confidence that they can acquire any knowledge they need.
With precision and focus we want to develop our school to be the one of the best in the world
We want to make our School of Mathematical Sciences one of the best in the world. This will depend on what we focus on. To do this, we need to produce versatile and empowered young mathematicians capable of handling any kind of problems that nature and life may throw at them. Our programme is focused on teaching the structure of Mathematics and then guiding them to see how problems around them can be translated into Mathematics and also solved using mathematics which will provide new insights that other methods of thinking cannot provide.
“Think Mathematics” and “Think in Mathematics” is the motto of our institution
The uniqueness of our school is in encouraging students to understand the basic structure of Mathematics and then, in the third year, learn how it can be applied to varying problems of life and nature. Our motto is “Think Mathematics” and “Think in Mathematics” and our fundamental belief is that Mathematics is a language. Once you learn to translate anything into this language and look at its structure, you will see features of reality that no other form of human learning can provide. With a good foundation in Mathematics, one can go anywhere in the world but from practically no other field of learning can you come to Mathematics. Mathematics is the superset of all learning.
Mathematics is a beautiful combination of art and science
Mathematical skills are highly regarded and highly feared because of the truly abstract and yet versatile nature of the subject – it is both, an art and a science. While magnificent on its own, it can provide insights and solutions to a whole host of apparently unsolvable problems. It can also provide new and powerful tools for programming computers and other machines to efficiently do what we want them to do.
In order to ensure that students understand and appreciate this and are capable of using it, the college provides an excellent and versatile teaching faculty, includes computer programming and mathematical methods used to programme computers as an integral part of the studies and invites students to undertake projects and independent assignments from first year itself.
The idea is to empower both teachers and students to wander around in this vast field of human learning
An effective leader, is an invisible leader. It is said that in the presence of a good leader, the people say, “He did this and he did that” while in the presence of a great leader, the people say, “we did this and we did that”. The idea is to empower both teachers and students to wander around in this vast field of human learning called Mathematics with maximum guidance and minimum interference and an insistence on research and exploration of the subject. The idea is that the Dean should appear to be the most redundant member of the school.
The approach of our school, worked out through extensive discussions within the school and with educational experts, is to expose students to various ideas and let them explore their versatility. The emphasis is on making students creative and assisting them in their creativity.