MAL's awards

MAL strives to actively promote and develop training and education in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science at different educational levels. MAL encourages and rewards students in the represented disciplines by handing out the main awards in the secondary school open series finals of the Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science competition organised annually by MAOL, the Association for Teachers of Mathematical Subjects. The awards are presented to winners in January and February after the finals in Helsinki.

MAL grants an annual award of EUR 5,000 for the best Master’s Thesis in Mathematics, Physics or Computer Science. Universities are invited to suggest suitable candidates for the award at the beginning of the year. The award committee is the same committee that selects the winners of TEK's award for a Master’s Thesis in Technology, with some additional members appointed by MAL. The award committee meets during the spring, and MAL’s Board makes the final decision based on the committee's suggestion.

MAL does not award dissertations as of yet, but a dissertation in the field represented by MAL can be awarded in the dissertation competition organised by TEK.

MAL's social influence and partnerships

MAL influences the development of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science in society by issuing statements and views, making suggestions and providing initiatives related to matters in these fields. For example, MAL has participated in the discussion about the position of Mathematics and Physics in society, and improvement thereof, in the national newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. MAL has provided statements to the Ministry of Education and Culture about the position of the represented disciplines in the renewed distribution of classroom hours in secondary schools, as well as monitored the preparatory work of the curriculum in the Ministry.

MAL chairs the cooperation forum for associations in the field of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the establishment of which was initiated by MAL in the early 2000s. The forum has addressed current problems in the field, and aims to influence teaching in particular. The forum also participated in the preparatory work of the “tiede03” event organised by the Academy of Finland in the autumn of 2003. The following associations have participated in the work of the forum: The Association for Teachers of Mathematical Subjects (MAOL), Academy for Technical Sciences (FACTE), Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, Multidisciplinary Professionals in Science (LAL), The Finnish Physical Society, Association of Finnish Chemical Societies, The Finnish Society for Computer Science, the Finnish Society for Medical Physics and Medical Engineering, and TEK, as well as the following student associations: International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) and Limes, whose representatives in the forum have been very influential.

TEK is an obvious partner for MAL, as MAL operates in connection with TEK, and they have organised training events together. MAL’s office is also located in TEK’s premises. With the Finnish Physical Society, MAL traditionally organises a MAL seminar during the annual “Physics Days”. MAL has also discussed potential cooperation with the Finnish Mathematical Society. MAL is currently considering cooperation with many other associations in the fields represented. Cooperation with MAOL is well established, as regards both the forum and the awards presented to students.

Text: Jouni Björkman and Antti Lauri