On using mathematics in the real world

Science has a good article on mathematics in industry across the Pacific Rim. The article basically says a lot of mathematicians in manufacturing intense areas are leaving academia (temporarily or permanently) to help improve industrial output. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the same thing happened in the West over the last few decades.

This underlies the important question that math teachers are tired of hearing, “When will I ever use this?” After my first term teaching statistics at UMUC, a student emailed me a slide from a presentation she was watching. It included a 95% confidence interval and a note of surprise that we do this in the real world, too!

Image by JOHN LLOYD / Flickr.