Bulletin Spring‧Summer 1980

Southeast Asian Mathematical Society Conference The 5th Biennial General Meeting and Conference of the Southeast Asian Mathematical Society was held in Hong Kong from 16th to 20th June, 1980. Apart from this University, the other sponsoring organizations include UNESCO, International Mathematics Union, Baptist College, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic and the Hon g Kong Mathematical Society. A total of 165 participants attended the Conference, of w h om over 90 came from 16 overseas countries. In his presidential address, Dr. Tan Wang Seng pointed out: 'Mathematicians must also appreciate our national aspirations and objectives, and be able to participate in achieving these aims. One of these aims is, of course, to lay the foundation for a future technological society by means of a good scientific and mathematical education. I think in this respect mathematicians in universities have played a useful role in training the large numbers of mathematics teachers so urgently needed. However, this role will not be needed indefinitely. In fact there are already indications in some countries that the need for new mathematics teachers may be diminishing. Mathematicia must therefore view the future with forebodings if their only perceived role is the training of future mathematicians and mathematics teachers .' On mathematics education, he remarked that the most talented students no longer enrol themselves in mathematics programmes in the universities because 'there are very few careers open to them after getting their degrees and very few mathematicians in S E A MS countries are employed as mathematicians per se, i.e. just to solve mathematical problems of any nature.' He therefore suggested that ‘mathematics departments develop several programmes along professional lines to produce graduates who will be of immediate use to the country. Areas that are within the capability of most mathematics departments are statistics, operations research, computational mathematics and computer science. To make these programmes truly professional, theory must be mixed with practice and hands-on experience with real problems.' 1 8