Equity & Access
AMS Ethical Guidelines
Why is a research mathematics program necessary for graduate science programs?
Jerrold Meinwald, Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry, Cornell University in a letter to the president of the University of Rochester regarding their decision to cut back the math program:
"I think that the giving up of mathematics at the graduate level would have a
number of very serious consequences:
... if an
enemy of the University wanted to devise a plan to destroy this institution, I believe that [doing away with graduate mathematics] would be as effective as anything such a person might conceive, comparable to the
possibility of closing the libraries or doubling the tuition. Mathematics is simply too central a subject for a
university to abandon, even in the face of the most serious economic problems."
- The university would no longer be a participant in one of mankind's most fundamental intellectual
- With the collapse of mathematical research, it will become impossible to maintain a faculty capable of
providing an insightful and inspiring math teaching program.
- There will be a powerful, negative impact on the education of physists (both experimental and
theoretical), chemists, biologists, (particularly ecologists), engineers, economists, philosophers, and
indeed anyone else whose discipline may require deep, quantitative and/or logical analyses of complex
- It will become harder to recruit or retain outstanding faculty members in any fields that are at all
dependent on mathematics.
- It will consequently become harder to attract either Federal or industrial support for the university's
- The quality of students attracted to study at the University of Rochester at both the undergraduate and
graduate levels can be expected to decline. While I have always thought highly of the University of
Rochester, it would certainly become difficult for me to recommend it to students seeking a quality
Jerrold Meinwald is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society,
and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.