On September 13, 2018, nearly 200 freshmen from School of Mathematics had their first lesson Mathematics, Application, Innovation given by Yang Le, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The lecture was presided by Sun Xiaotao, Dean of the School of Mathematics.
“What is Mathematics?” Yang Le proposed a question to the freshmen at the beginning of his lecture to inspire their understanding of mathematics, and to tell them that mathematics is a science of numerical relationships and space form. Subsequently, he introduced the number, vector, matrix, function and other numerical relationships and some concepts of space form such as point, line, surface, manifold. And then, he introduced some examples of mathematics application in our daily life, such as Pyramids and Calabi-Yau manifold. Yang Le said that since the 20th century, especially nearly half a century, almost all branches of science research and development are inseparable from mathematics. He also said that mathematics has penetrated into every subject and is widely applied to physics, mechanics, astronomy, computer and information science, aerospace science, energy science, atmospheric science, environmental and marine science, engineering science, finance, economics and other fields. More importantly, mathematics plays an important role in major issues, such as national economy and national security. In particular, he introduced the application of mathematics in large aircraft design and manufacture, anti-missile system research and development and password settings which fully illustrates the important value of mathematics under the requirement of modern science being more digitized and more precise.
Professor Yang said “What we have just mentioned is that we can easily see the function and effects of mathematics, in fact, the effects of mathematics to professional training and growth is more important and intangible. He said that Tianjin University should take the responsibility of professional training in the fields of engineering, and mathematics should play a great role in this process. Mathematics can cultivate people’s ability of geometric intuition and spatial imagination, rigorous logical reasoning ability, analysis and induction ability, as well as calculation and innovation ability. With many academicians’ experience and his own personal experience, he told us that mathematics plays an important role in engineering study and research. Yang believed that the effects of mathematics for young people like the iceberg which its main part is still hidden under the water.
Regarding to the relationship between computer and mathematics, Yang Le holds a point that the computer hardware is still developing at an amazing speed, so that mathematics and software should work harder as well as be closely integrated with the development of computers to promote the development of science and technology.
Later, Professor Yang introduced the stories of many famous mathematicians, such as Newton, Gauss, Riemann, Loo-keng Hua, Shiing Shen Chern, Shing-Tung Yau. Compared with these great mathematicians who can make remarkable achievements under tough conditions, the mathematicians who are live in good environment will surely study mathematics well and reach the high level. In order to achieve the goal, we should make great efforts to study academic knowledge. Regarding to how to learn mathematics, Yang Le has his own opinion that the original idea of mathematics should not be concealed by complicated logical reasoning. He said that we should study with the spirit of research, first of all, to clarify the logical reasoning, and then to analyze the original ideas, adhere to the mathematical rules to understand its essence. He told us it’s impossible to learn mathematics just by thinking, and we should do more practice and set up a spirit of difficulties overcoming. Being professional is a long-term process, and mathematics learning and research also needs take time for problems solving and difficulties overcoming.
Professor Yang told the freshmen that in order to become a professional in mathematics, we should make efforts from the following three points: First, we should have lofty ideals and aspirations, determined to contribute ourselves to the development of country. Second, we should be interested in mathematics and be fascinated by learning, and the interest can be nurtured by our hard working. Third, we should persist in goals pursuing. Difficulties and problems are inevitable in our daily life, however, we can overcome them by our long-term efforts, and we also can make great progress and achievements in our own field.
Professor Yang said that it is very happy to meet so many students choosing Mathematics as their major as an elder mathematics learner. He sincerely hoped that the domestic research team of mathematics could absorb more new mathematical forces, and training more professionals to meet the needs of development of country, as well as make more contributions for the development of mathematics.
By: Ma Changying