Jean Joseph, at the AMS Grad Math Blog, asks why some departments are called “Department of Mathematics” and others are called “Department of Mathematical Sciences”. The obvious explanation is that the “Mathematical Sciences” ones are more applied, but that doesn’t necessarily hold.
“Department of Mathematics” is much more common; I get 9,090,000 Google hits for it, compared to 531,000 for “Department of Mathematical Sciences”, for a 17 to 1 ratio.
In my Googling, the first ten hits for “Department of Mathematics” are the departmental web pages of Berkeley, Stanford, Washington, Purdue, Penn State, Florida State, Chicago, Wisconsin, MIT, and UCLA.
The first ten hits for “Department of Mathematical Sciences” are the departmental web pages of Carnegie Mellon, Clemson, Montana, Delaware, Michigan Tech, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Montana (again), and Central Connecticut State.
I don’t know how to interpret this data; obviously the “Department of Mathematical Sciences” schools are less notable, but that makes sense simply because there are less of them. (Besides, I don’t want to be on record as insulting Carnegie Mellon because someone I love is in Pittsburgh.)
Now, historically statistics departments tend to be more applied in their outlook than mathematics, so if Joseph’s idea is right, then perhaps we’d expect “Statistical Sciences” to be more common, relatively speaking.
For “Department of Statistics” I get 4,640,000 hits; the first ten are Berkeley, Stanford, Washington, Penn State, Texas A&M, Oxford, UCLA, Chicago, Purdue, and Michigan. For “Department of Statistical Sciences” I get 63,400 hits, for a 73 to 1 ratio. The hits here start with Cornell, University College London, Duke, Cape Town, Padua, Virginia Commonwealth (which is actually “Statistical Sciences and Operations Research”), VCU again (this time a listing of their faculty), VCU again (some sort of “handbook”), VCU again (the page of Paul Brooks), and a flyer about Padua’s department. Interestingly, Cornell can’t make up its mind what to call its department; the HTML title of their page is apparently “Department of Statistics” but the banner at the top of the page identifies them as “Department of Statistical Science”.
So if anything, math departments are more likely to add “science” to their name than stats departments. Why?
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