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More students pursue mathematics careers

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While the number of mathematicians born in the 1970s is modest, more people who were born in the 1980s are pursuing a career in math, according to Prof Phung Ho Hai, head of the Mathematics Institute.

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Phung Ho Hai, head of the Mathematics Institute


Prior to 2014, Singapore led Southeast Asian countries in the number of ISI scientific articles in mathematics. However, since 2014, Vietnam has been in the top position.

With 304 published articles in 2018, Vietnam continues to be in the first position in Southeast Asia, leaving Singapore, which is in the second position, far behind (196 articles), and the 32nd position in the world, according to Scientometrics for Vietnam - S4VN.

Hai, in an interview with VietNamNet, said he believes Vietnam will stay firmly in this position, at least in the next few years, because the Vietnamese mathematician community has many young people and admits more mathematicians returning from overseas every year.

It would be difficult for Singapore to change its position because it has a small population while Vietnam is a populous country with great potential, he said.

However, Hai stressed that the number of ISI published articles is just an indicator of mathematics study development. The first position for Vietnam doesn’t mean that Vietnam is better than Singapore. Two Singaporean universities rank in high positions in the world.

Hai said that he has confidence in the staff of Vietnamese mathematicians. “We now have young mathematicians, born in 1980s, who are very enthusiastic and have gained a lot of achievements,” he said.

While Hai affirmed that the number of mathematicians is on the rise, local newspapers repeatedly warn that it is more difficult to enroll excellent students in mathematics majors in high school. 

The number of students applying for mathematics major every year is limited, and not all mathematics majoring students will continue mathematics study after graduation.

Hai denies that the number of excellent mathematicians is on the decrease, saying that the figure is increasing. However, many excellent mathematicians choose to go abroad to study. As a result, mathematics faculties at domestic universities have few excellent students.

In Vietnam, a debate about the role of mathematics study in life has been raised. Some scientists, including mathematicians, believe that there is no need to reserve many resources for mathematics. Others believe that mathematics is an important basic science. 

Many excellent high school students refuse to study mathematics at university and tend to choose economics, which is believed to bring better job opportunities.



Source: VietNamNet

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