Applied Mathematics

So, applied mathematics is the use of the language of mathematics to solve real world problems, or to study real world problems. It’s sort of a gray area between the language of mathematics and, you know, theoretical sides of other applications. We are doing mathematics to help other sciences forward and that can be applications to engineering, to biology, to physics, to chemistry, any field, you name it. It’s collaboration that’s more organic and more integrated. Of course I need people who can do experiments, who are good at doing experiments, and they need people that have more quantitative skills. At UC Santa Cruz what we try and do is help our colleagues. I’m currently collaborating with Mark Akeson and Kate Lieberman’s lab in the Biomolecular Engineering Department, modeling single molecule experiments. Basically we try to understand the mechanism, the physical mechanism, of DNA polymerase. Yeah, we have some lofty aspirations. So I work on fluid dynamics. Fluid dynamics is fun because fluid dynamics is everywhere, the air we breathe, the blood that’s coursing through our veins. And of course this doesn’t only apply to Earth, it applies to other planets. I have always this kind of dual identity as an astrophysicist and an applied mathematician. Because I do research in fluid dynamics with application to astrophysics, there is no way to do experimentation in the lab to see what this kind of fluid would do. Even though the equations are the same, they behave in a way that’s completely different from what, say, water or air would do. And so we really, really need the numerical machinery, and specifically high performance computing, to be able to do essentially what’s called a numerical experiment. There’s a big advantage to doing numerical simulations in that an experiment with an observation you may only have access to a small amount of information from that experiment. You can only see certain things. Whereas in a numerical simulation you can see everything. So now what a lot of what academia and industry is looking for is not only people who can make mathematical models, but people who know how to solve those mathematical models on modern computing architecture. It’s a very, very marketable skill. It sounds like high performance computing is a buzzword, it’s like a big word that sounds like fantasy, but it’s actually not. So my main research area in applied mathematics is called computational mathematics. This is one of the main applied mathematics area that heavily relies on using high performance computing actually. There are many different types of applications that my research areas can contribute. The research that I do, and the code that I develop actually has been tested on very large scale computers. For instance, you can use this kind of computational mathematics in order to solve supernova explosions in the universe. Researchers in Applied Math, and our whole department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and indeed across the whole Baskin School of Engineering, are very, very tenacious. This tenacity means a lot of stuff gets done here on campus. I mean students are literally working in parallel with the faculty at all stages of this process. If you really want to investigate new areas, you somehow need new novel ideas. That is, I think, the focal point in modern science and that’s really happening within this Applied Mathematics and Statistics Department in UC Santa Cruz.


  1. Mxolisi Fana said:

    Beautiful…………….Mhhhh really intriguing.

    August 26, 2016
  2. Nikolay Dimitrov said:

    Love it. Currently undergoing my first degree in International Logistics and Engineering, and yes. Applied mathematics and Statistics are pure gold

    November 12, 2016
  3. Mongolian Kids Cartoons said:

    Very cool, I got into applied mathematics at SFSU and am going this fall

    February 19, 2017
  4. 133faceman said:

    There goes my career in applied mathematics. These people are smart. I'm dumb, will probably go kill myself now

    June 30, 2017
  5. G for g-ustice said:

    heeyyyy I did math once

    July 7, 2017
  6. Fnord Fnordington said:

    piano song at the beginning?

    October 14, 2017
  7. Izi Scott said:

    It sounds soo fun, I love math but it doesn't love me back😂😂

    November 23, 2017
  8. Jeremy Battle said:

    Doesn't a lot of theoretical ideas come out of applied math? As far as I can tell, they should not be mutually exclusive.

    December 22, 2017
  9. Justin Chan said:

    life is not finished until you get through physics and applied maths

    December 30, 2017
  10. Cute 私はとてもかわいい笑 said:

    is a computer engineer considered a type of mathematician?

    March 20, 2018
  11. AliHamzaBhatti said:

    great job

    March 25, 2018
  12. Tausif Shaikh said:

    I am msc mathematics with very good numbers want abroad job

    May 2, 2018
  13. Dhanar Santika said:

    How to trigger pure mathematician
    – sin(x) = x
    – π = e = 3

    June 15, 2018
  14. nilspin said:

    Interesting video, music is too loud though.

    December 21, 2018
  15. Lynette Math Nerd said:

    I plan on a double major in applied mathematics and computer science. Starting my 3rd year in the fall.

    May 30, 2019
  16. Ztech said:

    Applied mathematicians have the creative side which must first invent the structures for which there (pure) reasoning comes to rest on. But pure math is not about solving problems but learning arbitrary mathematical fact. A pure mathematician is merely a quick learner. But a good applied mathematician has the empiricist quality of inventing novel models (building a new “perspective”) and can switch gracefully to the mode of deep reasoning, shared by those pure mathematicians…all as a means of generate a useful solution to a very particular instance.

    July 13, 2019
  17. Hello_ World_ said:

    Math isnt only a "language"

    August 14, 2019
  18. Ima Coder said:

    fuck yeah, we, applied mathematicians, rock!!!

    September 24, 2019
  19. 2019 said:

    Very interesting, I'm doing an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics next year. Can't wait, hopefully do a masters after!

    October 5, 2019
  20. Dog blues said:


    October 24, 2019
  21. books from Windblown said:

    I wish i had mathematics level like this man who applied math.

    October 28, 2019

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