The Department and its Facilities
Trinity College is justly proud of its long tradition of excellence in mathematics. Most famous is William Rowan Hamilton, renowned for his work on dynamics, his prediction of conical refraction and for his invention of quaternions. It was Hamilton's ideas that led Schrödinger to the discovery of wave mechanics in 1926, ideas which continue to pervade our view of physics. There are many other distinguished mathematicians who have, through the centuries, made important contributions to the advancement of the subject, E.T. Whittaker and J.L. Synge, two more recent examples.
Research interest in the Mathematics Department is enormously varied; ranging from the abstract ideas of differential geometry and analysis to practical ideas of numerical analysis; modelling and computer algorithms; the nature of fundamental particles and general relativity; non-linear systems and fluid mechanics. This departmental diversity is reflected in the specialist sophister courses available to students.
At present there are fourteen full-time permanent academic staff members, about two hundred undergraduates and approximately thirty postgraduate students in the department. In addition, there are a number of research, administrative and part-time teaching staff. Besides the four year degree course leading to the B.A.(Mod) degree, the department also offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Details regarding post-graduate degrees are contained in a separate booklet.
The department has its own computing network which is linked to that of the College and hence to international networks. The departmental facilities are all based on the UNIX operating system with approximately a dozen machines acting as servers for undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff. In total there are around 60 graphics X-window work places on the network, with around 30 of these for undergraduate student use including general facilities such as email and World Wide Web browsers, various compilers and more specialised computational and graphical software for mathematical purposes. There are also research machines and newly initiated innovative research projects which use the joint TCD/Queen's University of Belfast parallel computer. The College Informations Systems Service provides PC and Macintosh facilities in many College locations.
The department boasts the finest mathematics research library in Ireland, with over sixteen thousand books and a current subscription to over one hundred journals. Students also have access to the College library which is a copyright library with over three million volumes.
The Dublin University Mathematical Society
The Maths Society is, as its name implies, a student society with a room in the department at their disposal. Perhaps the best description of the Society is one given by the members themselves...
``The Dublin University Mathematical Society (D.U.M.S.) room is populated with eager students intent only on the study of maths and the pursuit of a clean healthy lifestyle. No, honest. Really.
``No free coffee and tea all year round, those are pernicious lies spread by our many enemies who would honestly have you believe that we are willing to talk to anyone because all our friends think we're too strange. Nope.
``Interesting talks are not given every 2 weeks on topics of interest to the average science student. That's the Physical Society.
``We don't have two computer terminals, comfortable chairs, a library of over 1500 mathematical, science and computer books. Nosiree bob. That's someone else too.
``We don't have the only society rooms within staggering distance of the Hamilton Building. I'm not sitting here now.
``We do admit that we never hesitate to go for the cheap laugh when a serious summary is called for, though, and that our society has been active since 1923, when Ireland's only Science Nobel Laureate helped to found it.''
They may be too modest to admit it, but the membership is usually about 300, including many non-mathematics students, so they must be doing something right.