In the fall of 1913, Peking University began enrolling math students, symbolizing the official beginning of teaching activities by the first collegiate department of mathematics in modern China. In the autumn of 1919, Peking University changed “Men” into department. When deciding the order of all departments, Mr. Cai Yuanpei, the then president of Peking University stated: “The mission of all universities is that those engaged in the philosophy, literature and applied sciences, shall start with pure sciences; those engaged in pure sciences shall start with mathematics. Therefore, the mathematics department shall be listed as the first among all departments.” Today, the School of Mathematical Sciences is still listed as the first among all departments/colleges at Peking University.
After a nationwide readjustment of colleges and universities, a new Department of Mathematics and Mechanics was created through the merger of three mathematics departments at Peking University, Tsinghua University and Yenching University in 1952. As proposed by academician Cheng Minde, the State Education Commission approved the establishment of the Institute of Mathematics of Peking University in 1980. The system combined by department and institute has greatly promoted the academic research of mathematics department. In 1995, Peking University founded the School of Mathematical Sciences.The Department of Mathematics is one of the five departments of the School. Since its establishment, the Department of Mathematics has developed a large number of talents engaged in mathematics education and research who have made great contributions to the development of Chinese mathematics.
The Department of Mathematics has 5 Teaching and Research Sections (TRS): Analysis TRS, Geometry and Topology TRS, Algebra and Number Theory TRS, Differential Equation TRS, Mathematical Physics TRS. There are also 4 research teams: Geometry and Topology Research Team, Algebraic Geometry Research Team, Algebra and Number Theory Research Team and Differential Equation Research Team. There are about 60 teachers, including 6 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3 academicians of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, 7 Changjiang Distinguished Professors, 13 Distinguished Young Scholars supported by the National Science Fund, 5 Excellent Young Scholars supported by the National Science Fund, 3 Changjiang Young Scholars and more than 50 professors/ associate professors. Their research orientations cover algebra, topology, dynamical system, differential geometry, function theory, differential equations and mathematical physics.
The Department of Mathematics concentrates on teaching both basic and professional theory of mathematics and is committed to cultivating the high-level mathematical talents with innovative and creative abilities. After four years of study, the students should have the preliminary ability to make research of the subjects on the frontiers of pure or applied mathematics. More than 90% of undergraduate students are recommended or admitted to the key universities and institutes domestic and overseas after graduation and continue their graduate studies in the fields of Mathematics, Computing, Information Science, Economics, Finance and Management. The Department of Mathematics attaches great importance to the education of postgraduates. After further studies at Master’s and Doctoral level, students should have a good grasp of the specialized theoretical knowledge, techniques and methods in some directions of pure mathematics. The department has fostered a group of senior professionals with intense mathematical theory preparations and independent research skills.
Thanks to the efforts of several generations of mathematicians of Peking University, the Department of Mathematics has evolved distinctive characteristics and advantages in personnel training and scientific research and has made contributions to build the Peking University's “first-class discipline”. We warmly welcome teachers and students who are willing to engage in pure mathematics to join us.