• Question: What is difference between pure mathematics and applied mathematics?

    Asked by Barre to Alice, Koko, Paul, Silvia, Tim on 24 May 2018.
    • Photo: Timothy Chege

      Timothy Chege answered on 24 May 2018:

      To simplify it, pure mathematics is just mathematics. Applied mathematics on the other hand is using pure mathematics for a practical cause eg using mathematics to predict when the next El nino rains might hit us.

    • Photo: Alice Kamau

      Alice Kamau answered on 25 May 2018:

      The easiest way to think of it is that pure maths is maths done for its own sake, while applied maths is maths with a practical use. But in fact, it’s not that simple, because even the most abstract maths can have unexpected applications. For example, the branch of mathematics known as “number theory” was once considered one of the most “useless”, but now plays a vital part in computer encryption systems. Applied maths tries to model, predict and explain things in the real world.

    • Photo: Koko Mutai

      Koko Mutai answered on 25 May 2018:

      Applied mathematicians focus on the real-world uses of mathematics. Engineering, economics, physics, finance, biology, astronomy—all these fields need quantitative techniques to answer questions and solve problems. Pure mathematics, by contrast, is mathematics for its own sake