Introduction to Applied Mathematics: An Interdisciplinary Approach

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 24, 2019 - June 28, 20196/24 - 6/28M-F 3:30P-6:20POpenSabina Stefan

Course Description

Mathematics is a powerful tool that can be applied to understand real life. We use mathematical models to gain insight on the mechanisms of how real phenomena take place, to make predictions about the world, to design structures and materials, to understand the mysteries of the universe and ourselves. Science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary fields are rapidly expanding. Nowadays, it is often difficult, time-consuming and sometimes impossible to conduct large intricate experiments to answer scientific questions. Instead, mathematical modeling is being adopted to bridge that gap by simulating how ocean currents evolve, the trajectories of subatomic particles, and how materials behave, for example. Mathematical techniques have been used to understand the physical world, but also ourselves and human history: how evolution takes place at the level of genes, how our brains encode information, and what goes wrong in epilepsy or Alzheimer’s’ Disease. Lastly, mathematics forms the basis of much technological advancement, especially in the latest craze of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

This course aims to give an introduction to mathematical modeling, and how applied mathematicians approach problems, implement solutions both analytically and numerically, and understand the results of the model and simulations. Once we set up this basic foundation, we apply these techniques to fundamental examples including population dynamics, enzyme reactions, and infectious diseases. We then explore how mathematics is applied in cutting-edge research to understand how cancer spreads, how neurons in the brain communicate information, and various other topics at the forefront of scientific investigation here at Brown and elsewhere. We will use to MATLAB to solve to set up mathematical models and solve them numerically, although no programming experience is required. The course will also have a final project where students will apply techniques learnt in class to a particular problem or topic of their interest.

This course is ideal for students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to Science and are interested in applying mathematics and quantitative methods within various scientific disciplines.

Prerequisites: Students will have needed to take Calculus.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEMA0919
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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