Mathematics is central to our understanding of the world in which we live, to our control of our environment, and to the organisation of our society. It underpins science, technology, medicine, economics and government. The preservation and propagation of mathematics is essential if civilization is to flourish. But this is a requirement that goes far beyond the simple recording and transmission of techniques of calculation and analysis. If Society is to benefit from mathematics, it must nurture a mathematical culture, by promoting a pervasive understanding of the mathematical way of thought and by supporting the study of mathematics for its own sake.
Those who teach mathematics at every level must be able to see beyond the horizons set by the problems at hand, otherwise they will convey no more than the means of mechanical execution. Without a broader appreciation of their subject, they will not pass on the understanding that is required for creativity, nor will they instil a proper appreciation of the beauty and universality of the mathematical ideas.
The mission of the Mathematical Institute is the preservation and expansion of mathematical culture. Our goals are to extend our own horizons through research at the highest level; to support the propagation and exploitation of mathematical ideas through publication and by reaching out to the public; to train our students, graduate and undergraduate, in the practice of mathematics; and to educate them in the ways of mathematical thinking. By these means, and by teaching those who will themselves carry forward our mission, we seek to extend the benefits of mathematical understanding.