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As I'm sure everybody already knows, there is something of a contention between two branches of mathematics - Applied Mathematics and Pure Mathematics.

For those who thought that math was just math, here is the distinction: Applied Math involves, as might be expected, the applications of mathematical study to problems within the real, observable world. For example, disciplines within Applied Math would include optimization, operations research, quality control analysis, etc. Pure math would include such disciplines as logic, analysis, topology, etc. For my part, I favor applied mathematics over pure mathematics simply because applied mathematics "pays the bills." Of course, they are both good for their own purposes, but I will always consider myself more an applied mathematician than anything else.

So, anybody for pure math?The same issues seem to arise in any branch of research. Personally I think the most important thing is that basic and applied aspects communicate freely and make connections, and that some people do both or move from one to the other in pursuit of their interests.

I agree, but I do really love the rivalry shared between the two groups - especially in the mathematics. See, for example, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2379758

Got to get at least a chuckle out of this, eh?

I'm sure both have their merits, so I can't go with one or the other.

I'm confused though, is pure mathematics math that has no purpose or function? That doesn't add up.

According to Wiki, a mathematician called Hardy claimed that only "dull" mathematics was useful, and that "real" math included things like general relativity and quantum mechanics, which I'm sure are useful, if at the very least for our understanding of the universe!

There is no branch of mathematics, however abstract, which may not someday be applied to the phenomena of the real world.

â€”Nikolai Lobachevsky

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