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Practical applications and maths

  1. Feb 14, 2009 #1
    This is a question that got me thinking, but no further! Hence why I ask it here:
    Does anyone know of any mathematics that DOESN'T have practical applications?
    By practical I mean physical, real world applications.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2009 #2
    Does physical and real-world include computer science?
  4. Feb 14, 2009 #3
    Well, I'm sure that somebody could argue that any branch of mathematics you named was exceptionally practical as well as beautifully theoretical.

    But I for one believe that some types of math are more "practical" than others, in that they are more directly applicable.

    For instance, cryptography compared to Abstract Algebra.
  5. Feb 15, 2009 #4


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    I'm not sure what you mean by "cryptography compared to Abstract Algebra".

    Cryptography is an application of mathematics, not mathematics itself, which uses a lot of Abstract Algebra.
  6. Feb 15, 2009 #5
    I'd say physical and real world includes computers, I mean something that just doesn't apply anywhere. For example, when learning maths you often use practical applications to improve your understanding, is there something you can't really do that with? I personally can't see that being possible, but I'm not that well informed!
  7. Feb 15, 2009 #6
    I simply meant that if you take a course under the heading "Cryptography" it will be more "applied", and hence more applicable to the real world, than a course under the heading "Abstract Algebra". For just the reason you stated...

    At my school, Abstract Algebra wasn't even a prerequisite for Cryptography, because they cherry-picked the Algebra you needed to know and retaught it as applicable. Courses like that I believe are about as applied as you can get in Mathematics departments...

    Not that there's anything wrong with pure mathematics.
  8. Feb 16, 2009 #7
    Magic Squares? Rubiks cube?

    Apart from the application of novelty I'm not sure what utility they have.
  9. Feb 16, 2009 #8


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    I recall magic squares being used to solve some sort of comp-sci type problem, but now for the life of me can't remember what it was. It probably had no actual application to the real world anyway though.

    I'm not entirely convinced that a Rubik's cube is strictly an area of mathematics
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