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The logic of math

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Every mathematician solves math problems, but only a handful of mathematicians study the logical reasoning that they and their colleagues use to solve problems. They focus on the journey, not just the destination. 

Rahim Moosa, a professor in the Department of Pure Mathematics, was pursuing a degree in liberal arts at McMaster University when a philosophy professor introduced him to model theory, which applies logic to algebra, geometry, number theory and other core areas of math.

From that point onward, Moosa staked his tent at the intersection of math and logic. He joined the Faculty of Mathematics in 2004. “It’s rare to have an entire faculty of mathematics and rarer still to have a department for pure mathematics,” he reflected. “The Faculty of Mathematics has provided a supportive research environment that affords me and my colleagues the freedom to sink deep into our research. There are very few constraints.” 

Whether he is mentoring a student or participating in an overseas conference, Moosa derives great satisfaction from pursuing the fields that spark his curiosity. “I consider it a privilege to be able to make a living by thinking about ideas and problems,” he expressed. “In pure math, there are no labs and no computers. It’s just me and my thoughts.”

Learn more about Rahim's journey.