Who run the world? Maths!

Maths and society
Maths is social! Yep, numbers-based jobs are literally running the show – and the employment opportunities are limitless! Image: Shutterstock

There are some big changes happening in the maths world, which is good for society at large

We see it every day: maths and STEM solutions help create and improve things we use, such as smartphones and skateboards. They help buses run on time (or almost on time!), architects build better buildings, companies predict profits, and medical experts track and fight diseases.

“Maths underpins everything,” says one of Australia’s leading mathematicians Nalini Joshi AO. “It is playing an increasing role in society, solving everyday problems for everyone.”

Maths and society
Professor Nalini is the first ever female maths professor at the University of Sydney.

Data science companies such as Melbourne-based firm Eliiza are already onboard with this focus on society, with the company website setting the company tone: “This is more than just technology. It means considering how AI [Artificial Intelligence] will drive value for businesses and society, and be used in transparent, ethical and fair ways.”

Because maths is at the heart of so many solutions, it is also shaping the jobs of the future. “Finance is a big area for maths grads but they might equally choose a different field such as interrogating data from videos or images to find patterns and trends… or working for YouTube, for example,” says Nalini.

Eliiza’s senior data consultant Sophia Frentz says data science can even be used to help particularly marginalised groups such as those with a disability, “even though most people still think tech is the cool blokes’ club”.

Maths and society
Sophia is a senior data consultant with Eliiza, a progressive, Melbourne-
based company.

Nalini has previously spoken out about how women in particular are under-represented at senior levels in STEM education in Australia. As part of her drive to bring awareness and change, Nalini helped set up the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative, which encourages and recognises higher education and research hubs doing good work on gender equity, diversity and inclusion.

As Maths and STEM play bigger roles in increasingly diverse societies, it makes sense that STEM communities themselves become more diverse, too. – Matthew Brace

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2021.

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Author: STEM Contributor

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