Year of selection 2009
Did you know that Mathematics is the field where France is most renowned internationally? French Mathematicians have won a quarter of all the Fields Medals*so far. Will this last? There are reasons to be concerned: at the International Mathematical Olympiad, a yearly competition for the best high school students, the French team ranked 34th in 2011; and there is now a lack of mathematics teachers (300 positions remained unfilled in 2011) and potentially of engineers.
Worried about this drop in mathematical vocations, French Mathematical organizations created Animath in 1998 to improve the public image of mathematics and encourage mathematically-talented youths. The main goals of Animath and its partners are to: give a lively image of mathematics which appears too often as a dead science with no connections with 21st-century basic or applied sciences ; highlight the job opportunities provided by mathematics and science; help girls overcome the effect of stereotypes which hinder their performance in mathematics, encourage students, especially those suffering from social or geographical isolation to consider studying mathematics, science or engineering; develop mathematical talent in various forms, including those that do not fit well in the traditional school context.
Because mathematics, notably statistics and probability theory, are essential tools for insurers to better understand and prevent risks, the AXA Research Fund awarded Animath with a €100 k grant. It gave them the means to apply for a French government Call for Project (Grand Emprunt): they won € 3 million to involve all French stakeholders in this noble purpose.
*(mathematical equivalent of Nobel Prize)
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