Welcome to the MIT Mathematics Department!
As department head, I join with my colleagues in welcoming you to the top ranked mathematics department in the world — a world center in Pure and Applied Mathematics. The broad range of mathematical disciplines we cover include algebra, geometry and topology, number theory, analysis, probability theory, combinatorics, physical applied mathematics, computational sciences, computational biology, and theoretical computer science. Our department currently appoints approximately 50 faculty, 35 postdocs and instructors, and 30 visiting scholars and research affiliates. Our faculty have earned many awards, including the Abel Prize, National Medal of Science, Simons Investigator award, Packard Fellowship, Steele Prize, and Veblen Prize, to name a few.
I invite you to explore our web site, where you will find the latest news, upcoming events, listings of weekly seminars, and information about our annual Simons lectures. Our site features sections on our programs for graduate students, undergraduates, and various outreach programs for high school students and under-represented minorities. You’ll see links to Women in Mathematics and Diversity. You can also read back issues of our newsletter, Integral.
Our Building 2, now named the Simons Building following an award-winning renovation, offers many shared spaces for student-faculty collaboration and socializing: an enlarged and newly designed common room for daily teas and functions, a roof-deck terrace on our new fourth floor (with a view of the Charles River) for outdoor meetings; and an alluring floor-to-ceiling sculpture in our main lobby, titled Chord, by Antony Gormley.
Education is an integral part of our misson. We teach a variety of classes, both service courses for all undergraduates and more specialized math subjects. We are developing a number of online courses in calculus and differential equations through EdX. Our undergraduate program comes in many flavors and is pursued by almost 400 first or second math majors to accommodate their future needs. We are proud that MIT undergraduates make up the highest number of participants and top scorers of any institution in the annual Putnam Mathematical Competition. Our doctoral program consists of approximately 120 doctoral students, whose awards and outside accomplishments can be found by browsing our news archive.
Undergraduates have multiple opportunities to work on mathematical research with faculty through MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). The department has additionally designed mentoring programs for an undergraduate to work with a graduate student mentor. One program is the Directed Reading Program (to study one or more math texts), and another is our Summer Programs in Undergraduate Research (SPUR and SPUR+). The SPUR programs set up teams of one or two undergraduates paired with a graduate student, to work on a designated project that is presented to a faculty committee with other teams in a friendly competition.
High school students interested in learning and experiencing mathematics outside the classroom are also invited to work on mentored projects during the academic year as well as the summer. At the national level, our department mentors the mathematics students selected by the RSI (Research Science Institute) summer program. The department has also developed a number of PRIMES programs (Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) that offer a variety of arrangements for local and nationally selected students. Two in particular, MathROOTS and PRIMES circle, are designed to increase diversity. Since 2011, MIT has also hosted the Advantage Testing Foundation's Math Prize for Girls, a competition for nationally selected high school female students who come from across the nation with their families. Locally, department members mentor at Girls’ Angle, a math club for girls in grades 5-12.
These are just some of the teaching and outreach that we do, in addition to the full research and seminar life of our faculty, postdoctorates, visiting faculty and graduate students. I invite you to learn more about the mathematical world as it thrives at MIT.
Michel X. Goemans
Mathematics Department Head