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In our department, something is growing up into the darkness. A dark power which seduces my colleagues and their students one by one and leads them into the shadow. Those whose hearts are corrupted by this culture try to prove their research field is the best and deepest field of mathematics, The Lord of the Fields! All around the department, these students and teachers try to disparage the research fields of their colleagues in their discussions and lectures implicitly and explicitly. Analysts against Algebraists, Algebraists against Topologists, pure mathematicians against applied mathematicians and so on. This phenomenon really harms the scientific development of our institute and restricts the possible joint works between researchers in different fields. Also, it prevents students from seeing mathematics as a whole and using the tools of a particular field in another one.

Fortunately there are some researchers in our department who resist this culture. Recently I asked them to participate in an upcoming council to decide on the possible policies which could help us to overcome this situation.

Question. What can we do to overcome the lord of the fields dark culture? How can a teacher teach his/her students to appreciate all fields of mathematics regardless of their beloved research area? How can he/she convince his/her colleagues to stop poisoning their students by this culture?

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closed as off-topic by Brian Rushton, András Bátkai, Chris Cunningham, Thomas, vonbrand Apr 7 at 2:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about teaching mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." – Brian Rushton, András Bátkai, Thomas
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I like the question, but I you shold change the title to something more intuitiv. But I don't have a better concrete suggestion. –  Markus Klein Apr 6 at 13:19
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Perhaps you could change the title to something like, "How can a math department encourage students to appreciate all subfields of mathematics?" –  Jim Belk Apr 6 at 14:00
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Hand them swords, battle axes and flails; and let the great war of mathematical fields begin. –  user508 Apr 6 at 16:17
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Category Theory -- One field to bind them. ;P –  Michael E2 Apr 6 at 17:30
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For the "title of this post" please follow this meta post. –  Saint Georg Apr 6 at 17:46

1 Answer 1

As an individual, I think one place to start is by learning about other fields than your own and teaching your students about the interconnectedness and interapplicability of mathematics. Perhaps, gradually, your influence on your colleagues will also grow.

One example of a crossover field, with applications within and beyond mathematics, is algebraic topology. See, for instance, the work of Robert Ghrist and numerous others.

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This reminds me of something one of my professors loved pointing out. There are equivalent theorems to the axiom of choice is things you'd usually see as completely different then set theory. His usual example was Tychonoff's Theorem. –  ruler501 Apr 6 at 17:20

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