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On Development of Mathematics in China——A Speech addressed to the Forum of the Chinese Mathematical Society on mathematical education and scientific research on August 18,1989

Qian Xuesen

收稿日期: 1990-06-25
出版日期: 2015-05-15


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摘要  同志们,刚才王元同志讲的话我可不敢当。一个人过去的事过去就算了,主要是看他今后还能做点什么。应该说我对数学完全是一个外行,我不是学数学的,所以只能在数学之外看数学。今天在座的诸位才真正是行家,你们能从数学的内部看数学。我们来个里外结合,里外结合就能居高临下,免得只见树木不见森林。我今天要讲的主要意思,就是数学的发展关系到整个科学技术的发展,而科学技术是第一生产力;所以数学的发展是一件国家大事。
Abstract:The major purpose of this talk is to manifest the development of mathematics as a great national event. It is because the profound development of mathematics is closely related to that of the whole science and technology,whereas science-technology is to be realized as the foremost of the national productive forces. In the talk there present four fundamental questions with their suggestive interpretations.First, what is "Mathematics' Science" ? From the further advances of mathematics, the ''Mathematics' Science" would range itself next to the Natural Science and Social Science as a big department of modern science and technology.Second, what would be the mathematical education for students in college of sci-134 ence and engineering? With the presence of electronic computers many facts show that traditional mathematical courses are far away from the practical needs. Those courses have to have a basic reform, at least, this education should enable the students to use freely the computers,and can comprehend what is the responses given by the computers.Third, what would be the influence of the electronic computer to the "Mathematics' Science" ? Electronic computers have been used as general tools for today's age of information. The more the information, the more it would need such as parallel computing, artificial intelligence and the more it would suggest new subject-matter to the "Mathematics' Science"Forth, what would be the prospect of "Mathematics' Science" 7 the speaker feels that the importance of "Mathematics' Science" must be affirmative. As to the future, he is inclined to quote Whitehead's statement. If civilization continues to advance, in the next two thousand years the overwhelming novelty in human thought will be the dominance of mathematical understanding. But with a somewhat optimistic estimation, that is, two hundred years instead of two thousand years.
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