Interview with Lukas Duschek B. A.

January 21, 2022

Graduate award winner for outstanding B.A. degree at the Department of Mathematics Portraits at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Stuttgart

Why study mathematics?

Even in school, mathematics was always a lot of fun for me and also awakened a kind of desire in me to always want to delve deeper into certain topics. Of course, today's world offers quite a few resources for this: Among other things, lecture recordings that can be found freely accessible on the Internet; but also offers from the University of Stuttgart itself. For example, in high school I participated in the Correspondence Circle in Mathematics, which I can recommend to anyone who is still in school and wants to delve deeper into the subject. With this offer, one regularly receives an informational text about a mathematical topic that goes beyond the school material, and associated tasks that one can send in for correction. Studying this material is also an excellent way to find out whether or not studying mathematics might be right for someone.

In my case, the decision was made relatively early on that I wanted to study mathematics and physics, and that I also wanted to spark some interest in these subjects in other young people. That's why I enrolled in a teaching degree program. Mathematics tends to be less popular with some students; but I am sure that many can be inspired to take up the subject. That's exactly what I want to do as a teacher later on.

How can you imagine studying mathematics?

If you are interested in logical thinking in abstract structures, studying mathematics is just the right thing for you. If you also enjoy teaching others, explaining concepts, and working with people, you can excellently combine your subject interest with these qualities in the teacher training program.

Logical thinking and abstract structures are definitely things that should have some appeal if you are considering studying mathematics. Compared to school mathematics, the material is structured and introduced differently at the university: One starts with axioms (basic assumptions) and definitions in order to be able to gradually prove theorems with them and thus gradually build up a theory. In the end, the lectures at the university are structured like this or in a similar way: In the first semesters, you learn the basics for your studies in calculus and linear algebra, and partly embed concepts already known from school (like functions, limits, linear systems of equations) or new contents into the abstract context just mentioned. This is followed by other lectures or seminars in various areas of mathematics; for example, analysis, stochastics, algebra or geometry.

In later semesters, you can also take on the role of explainer yourself by taking over the leadership of an exercise group. I was allowed to do this several times, and I can recommend this to anyone who also likes to teach mathematics.

The exercise problems that are solved and discussed in such exercise groups make up quite a large part of the study. If you want to study mathematics, you need a certain perseverance and enjoy solving complex problems. It may well be that you have to think about solving a problem for several hours; but the sense of achievement and the further motivation that arises from it are all the greater when you have finally solved it.

The subject often has the reputation of being rather "dry". But this is not the case! In fact, intuition and creativity are not neglected when doing mathematics.

In summary: I enjoy thinking in abstract structures, solving problems, and also communicating content. For others who think similarly, I can only recommend the study of mathematics or a corresponding teacher training program!

Lukas Duschek B. A.
Graduate Award Winner for Outstanding B.A. Degree in the Department of Mathematics

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