Professor Ruediger Schack | Head of Mathematics and member of the Quantum Dynamics Group at Royal Holloway
“My why… is beauty, both in pure mathematics and in its application to the world.”
I came to Maths from Physics - as my research became more and more mathematical, my interests changed from modelling lasers to asking fundamental questions in quantum computing and the role of probability in quantum mechanics. With the recent surge in funding for quantum technology - several large companies are currently in a race to build the first working quantum computer - my research has again taken a more practical turn. I now collaborate with Royal Holloway's Information Security Group to study the impact of future quantum computers on cyber security.
Without mathematics, modern technology would not exist. Nevertheless, for many mathematicians, me included, the real importance of mathematics lies in its intrinsic beauty. The abstract edifice of mathematics is one of the greatest and most beautiful achievements of the human spirit. But most of the beauty of mathematics reveals itself only to those who study it.
Studying Mathematics at Royal Holloway
Since you are coming to university to study maths, you probably like maths. That's good because you will be doing a lot of mathematics! Some of it will be familiar from your A levels, and some of it you didn't even know existed. Some of it will be highly applicable, and some of it will be ‘pure’, ie, studied for its intrinsic value. The more maths you do, the better you'll get at it, the more you'll like it, the more interesting you'll find it.
Mathematics is hard but, just as in solving a puzzle, when it finally clicks, when you finally see how to find the solution after having been stuck for a long time, there is a great sense of pride and satisfaction. That's why a large part of learning happens outside lectures: working through weekly problem sheets, discussing maths with other students, exploring ideas in depth during tutorials.
During your studies you will be able to choose in which area or areas to specialise.
We offer modules in the following areas: pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and finance, and cryptography and communications. But beyond these subjects, you will learn invaluable things: how to tackle difficult problems, how to reason methodically, how to construct a mathematical argument, and much more.
Last but not least, you will develop an appreciation of the beauty of mathematics.