Emerging Fields in Mathematics Careers

Computational Biology and Genomics

By now, we've all heard of terms like "genetic sequencing" and "human genome". The mapping of the human genome depended on the use of sophisticated mathematical and computational tools. Now that sequencing is complete, the next challenge is to understand how genes interact, how they are switched on or off, and how they differ from individual to individual. The need for newer and better mathematical and computational tools will create new career opportunities in technology, medicine, and drug development and design.

Computer Animation and Digital Imaging

To get an idea of what this field entails, consider the following description from the Fields Institute in Toronto. "Computer Animation is an eclectic science that uniquely combines mathematics, computer science, fine art, classical animation, physics, biomechanics, and anatomy, to name but a few fields. Algorithms for computer animation rely heavily on techniques from scientific computation, statistics, signal processing, linear algebra, control theory, and computational geometry." With a diverse and exciting set of applications to such areas as entertainment (movies, video games), medical diagnostics, and fine arts (dancing, sculpture, painting), there are many avenues to explore. 

Data Mining

If you're looking for a broad mathematical area with lots of applications, look no further-data mining is the answer. Data mining involves the discovery of patterns and previously unknown information in large data sets. Emerging career opportunities will be found in applications of data mining in, for example, security, forensics, e-commerce, and sciences, such as genomics, astrophysics, and chemical engineering.


As described by organizers at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI), beginning with "the discovery of the fundamental Hodgkin-Huxley equations, which model electrical impulses and oscillations in neurons, mathematicians have been involved in developing models and computational schemes for systems of neurons." This mathematical and computational research provides tools for the study of the brain, the progression of neurological diseases, and the emerging treatments for such diseases.

Materials Science

Materials science is the study of the properties, processing and production of a broad range of existing and new materials, including metallic alloys, composites, liquid crystals, biological materials, and thin films. The rational design and analysis of materials depends on mathematical models and computational tools. Career opportunities abound in science, manufacturing, and materials design for applications in fields such as aerospace, engineering, electronics and biology.