“Pure Mathematics Has a Concealed Usefulness” – UI Don

By – Aduwo Ayodele


A Professor of Mathematics at the University of Ibadan, Professor Deborah Olayide Ajayi has on Thursday, April 25, 2024, emphasized the concealed usefulness of mathematics evident in human day-to-day activities.

According to Professor Olayide Ajayi, “mathematics is employed to find solutions to issues and questions that come up in daily life and various industries and professions.”

Delivering the 549th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ibadan on behalf of the Faculty of Science, entitled “Exploration of Pure Mathematics: Convergence of the Abstract, the Beautiful and the Useful“, Professor Ajayi described Mathematics as ‘a driving force behind human progress because it helps to understand the events that have occurred and to predict and prepare for events to come so that we can more fully understand our world and more successfully live in it’.

She stated that mathematics is found everywhere, in medicine, sports, engineering, performance analysis, navigation systems, electronic music production, computer gaming, quantum physics, fashion design, and so much more.

The world of Pure Mathematics is vast and welcoming not just for Mathematicians but also for anyone curious about the hidden beauty of the universe, the elegance of logic, and the power of abstraction” Professor Ajayi said.

The true value of Pure Mathematics often lies in its unpredictability. What may seem like abstract exploration today could be the key to solving future challenges in fields we haven’t even imagined” she stated.

Giving her recommendation to enable Pure Mathematics to thrive, be attractive, loved, and used by all, ‘an adequate number of competent and knowledgeable staff should be employed to teach Mathematics at all levels’.

The Don emphasized that Nigeria needs to invest in the training and retraining of teachers of Mathematics to become more capable and confident teachers.

Enlightenment campaigns should be vigorously mounted on the aspect of the importance and applications of mathematics stressing the need to encourage an increase in research activities in Pure Mathematics, especially algebra related areas” she added.

Professor Ajayi called for an increase in financial aid/grants for women studying and doing research in Mathematics, encouragement of young girls to foster interest in Mathematics from an early age.

She also appealed that the community of women Mathematicians should be strengthened through conferences, workshops, and online platforms saying that these avenues provide opportunities for interactions with other women, network, and collaboration.

Professor Ajayi was the first woman to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and second from any Nigerian university.


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