A mathematician is a Chercheur in Mathématiques, which thus recovers a broad pallet of competences and very different practices, with nevertheless jointly the same bottom of vocabulary, and the same requirement of rigor.
The generic term mathematician can be declined for more restricted fields, like algebrist , analyst , arithmetician , geometrician , probabilistic , statistician , etc to deserve to be qualified of mathematician, it is necessary nevertheless to be admitted to have contributed significantly to the development of mathematical science. The people applying the mathematical results are not considered as mathematicians.
The mathematicians are employed by private companies for various competences, or as professors at the university. They also work for varied institutions, research organizations, government agencies or soldiers. Because of diversity of mathematics, much of people being considered themselves mathematicians work in other subjects, like physics or data processing.
The mathematicians specialize in various branches of mathematics, but one generally distinguishes pure mathematics from mathematics applied.
The work of a mathematician is the resolution of the opened problems, and the checking of the conjectures. In the context, the term problem is to be differentiated from the problems which the professors with the pupils pose. The difficulties can arise at the time of modelings in physics, economy, in data processing,… or quite simply occurrent at the time of attempts at generalizations of former discoveries.
The mathematicians differ from the other scientists. In other sciences, the theories give acceptable approximations of reality.
There is no Nobel Prize for the mathematicians. The price having greatest prestige in mathematics is the Médaille Fields. But are also to mention the Prix Abel, the Prix Nevanlinna, the Prix Wolf,…
There exists a world directory mathematicians, published by the International Mathematical Union in form paper until a few years ago, and which is now accessible on the site from the International Mathematical Union www.mathunion.org.
As it should be, for the clothes industry of this directory, the International Mathematical Union provided a definition of the mathematician:
One calls active mathematician any person who published in the 4 last years at least 2 articles referred in the 3 great bibliographical databases, namely ZentralBlatt für Mathematik, Mathematical Reviews and Referatnyi Zhurnal.
This definition, perhaps a little restrictive, with the advantage of being operational, and of allowing a precise account of the mathematicians in activity.
In France, another definition considers as mathematician any person employed under mathematics by the university or an research organization; in this direction, there exists between 3500 and 4000 mathematicians in France, whose very great majority (approximately 3200) are at the university, and whose majority are active with the preceding direction.
According to Alain Connes, David Hilbert and Henri Poincaré are the last mathematicians to have a complete control of the search for their time. According to their dires, there would be between 15.000 and 20.000 mathematicians.
Although the majority of the mathematicians are men, the profession feminized, in particular since the Second world war. This feminization, less strong in pure mathematics than in mathematics applied, mark however the step since several years, in particular in top of the scale: among the 75 mathematicians admitted at the Academic institute of France since his foundation, one counts no woman.
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