The Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation (NRF) launched the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in mathematical and statistical sciences which will devote its energy to earth and environmental sciences at Wits.
“Wits is honoured to be awarded this centre of excellence. I hope that members of the centre don’t see this centre as the end, but as a start of something larger,” said Prof Helder Marques, dean of the faculty of science.
The CoE, launched 1 April, will be bringing much needed specialised attention to what are some of the most pressing issues in maths and statistics.
Citing the International Review Panel Report 2008, Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom emphasised the need of critical maths that can support other disciplines that need to interface with high levels of mathematics and statistics around the country and the world.
“Mathematics is the spinal cord of science, engineering and technology development and as such, it is critical to South Africa’s national system of innovation and to our future as a competitive, knowledge-based economy. This is most obviously the case, perhaps in respect of applied and computational mathematics, but these cannot be divorced from pure mathematics; thus effectively true of mathematics overall,” said Hanekom
The CoE in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences brings to four the number of CoEs hosted by Wits. Others being the CoE in Strong Matrials, and the CoE in Paleosciences. It further co-hosts the CoE in Biomedical Tuberculosis Research with the University of Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town.