Mathematics and German Business: Many professional uses of pure and applied mathematics

Mathematics and German business


Oberwolfach/Heidelberg, 1 April 2008

Mathematics as a key technology for German business

Bernd Pischetsrieder and Gert-Martin Greuel present Springer book to German Education Minister Annette Schavan and Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Culture Helmut Rau


The Oberwolfach Stiftung and the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (MFO) are launching the Springer title Mathematik – Motor der Wirtschaft today.  The book features articles by renowned business figures, and will be presented by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, at a gala event.

In their articles, various heads of major German companies – Allianz, Daimler, Lufthansa, Linde, and TUI, to name but a few – sum it up in a nutshell:  Mathematics is everywhere, and our economy would not work without it.  SAP’s CEO, Henning Kagermann, puts it like this:  “Corporate management without mathematics is like space travel without physics.  Numbers aren’t the be all and end all in business life.  But without mathematics, we would be nothing.”  The list of authors in the Springer book reads like a Who’s Who of German Dax companies.

The Year of Mathematics is the German federal government’s ninth science year, and was officially launched by the Education Minister Annette Schavan in January.  It presents a welcome opportunity to underline the importance of mathematics in leading companies.  “We need more mathematicians in Germany, more engineers and highly qualified experts who can bring mathematical solutions into specific products, processes and services.  Mathematics offers exciting career opportunities for young people.  That’s why we’re showing specifically how fascinating and diverse this science is during the Year of Mathematics,” Schavan said.

The book Mathematik – Motor der Wirtschaft came about in close cooperation between the Oberwolfach Stiftung and the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach.  The practical articles by leading German businesspeople show that mathematics is not just about abstract research topics, but is also used as a daily tool in all branches of the economy:  from insurance mathematics through high-tech applications in the pharmaceuticals industry, designing new cars, flight safety to risk management.  And good mathematical skills are even a prerequisite for furthering one’s career, as the authors demonstrate.

The internationally renowned Mathematische Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach hosts some 2,500 mathematicians from around the world every year, who use it as a conference and research center.  The MFO’s scientific programs cover the entire range of mathematics, including its applications in natural sciences and technology.
The Oberwolfach Stiftung is a foundation that finances the MFO, alongside regional and national government funding.  The foundation’s board consists of leading representatives from the worlds of business and mathematics.

Springer Science+Business Media is one of the world’s leading suppliers of scientific and specialist literature.  It is the second-largest publisher of journals in the science, technology, and medicine (STM) sector, the largest publisher of STM books and the largest business-to-business publisher in the German-language area.  With just under 100 journals and an annual 450 book titles on mathematics, Springer is the world’s number one in the field.  The group publishes over 1,700 journals and more than 5,500 new books a year, as well as the largest STM eBook Collection worldwide.  Springer has operations in about 20 countries in Europe, the USA, and Asia, and some 5,000 employees.

Mathematik – Motor der Wirtschaft
Greuel, Gert-Martin; Remmert, Reinhold; Rupprecht, Gerhard (Eds.)
2008, XX, 125 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-3-540-78667-2

Contact and review copies:
Renate Bayaz
Tel. +49 171 866 8118


I  am just sharing the above information with those who question the utility of mathematics especially parents and students who feel mathematics just leading to a teaching position. The awareness of mathematics as a profession in the industry is not at all there in India compared to the West. I hope to put up/share this information.


Nalin Pithwa

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