Take me to Cambridge to do Mathematics!

A project by: Viet Dang

pledged of £10,000 target

This project did not reach its target.

Completion Date: Sun 20 Sep 2015
Make the world have another mathematician!

Dear friends, (and friends of friends) 

My name is Viet, a young mathematician from the LSE, where I recently obtained a first-class degree in Actuarial Science. I have been granted a place to study a Master’s degree in Mathematics at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (which we endearingly call ‘Part III'). This is mind-blowing, to say the least. Whist everybody would appreciate the significance of being admitted to one of the most established and prestigious mathematics departments in the world, this admittance has tremendous importance to me on a personal level. 

I discovered my passion at a rather late stage. For the most parts, what mathematics meant to me was trying to be better academically than my friends, to get really good grades just for the sake of getting good grades and all different sorts of frivolity. The turning point came during the first year in university when I finally got some exposure to abstract mathematics, which, to say the least, opened up an entirely new way of looking at things. I then basically spent the next 2 years contemplating an academic career, and I’m taking the first step towards it - going to Cambridge this autumn! 

My desire is to create original and powerful mathematics with far-reaching consequences that will stand the test of time and astound the mathematical community with my discoveries. But in order to follow my scholarly pursuit, I need to engage in further education. I aim to carry out research in stochastic dynamical systems, which, in short and simple terms, help describe systems that grow randomly over time. It has seen its most striking application in mathematical finance - most prominently the Black-Scholes option pricing formula - but I aim to work in a setting general enough to solve many classes of problems, instead of being restricted to mathematical finance. 

When the young Norwegian Niels Abel, after whom the Abel prize bears its name, was asked how he progressed so fast in mathematics, he simply stated that he ‘studied from the masters and not their pupils’. It is clear that studying in Cambridge, home to many mathematical minds of the first rate, is a life changing opportunity. There cannot be a better preparation for Doctoral research than Part III. It is unfortunate that this opportunity is being denied from me by the, dare I say it, extortionate costs associated with it.

  • Tuition fee: £16,800 for the ‘core’ tuition fee and £6000 for the college - that works out to £22800
  • Visa processing fee: £400
  • Relocation: £250, figure provided by Cambridge’s website
  • Living cost: it is difficult to provide a number. Here we use a modest estimate of £700 a month over the course of 9 months. However, I aim to still do mathematics tuition and pay for it myself, alongside any other costs that are not tuition fee.

I have made effort to get funded, but it is widely known that studentships are extremely limited and I was not able to secure funding. Being an oversea student in the UK, I cannot take a student loan, and my home government does not provide student loan for an oversea degree either. On top of things, my and my family’s resource are almost exhausted after paying for my undergraduate degree. With all sources of finance together (including personal saving and help from my parents and relatives) - I have managed £16000, which is still £6800 short.  Reluctantly, I appeal for your kind financial support and I hope that the altruistic spirit of our society would help me go to Cambridge this autumn. Any excess would go towards maintenance and purchase of textbooks (which are expectedly not cheap).

Of course, as I am the one that directly enjoys the benefits of being in Cambridge, I should bear the tuition fee myself. Indeed, I do not believe I should make my problem yours. However, whilst £5 or £10 might not mean much for you financially, it would make a massive difference for me. After all, it is only a good thing to the world to have one more mathematician :) 

As far as rewards go, since this is not a business project, I do not have a lot to offer in return of your donation. But since I’m a mathematics tutor, I can offer A-level mathematics and further mathematics tuition in case anybody needs it. 

Although being pushy is the last thing I want to be, but if you decide to donate or help in any way, I assume that you want this funding project to be successful. Because of facebook’s sharing algorithm, not everybody on your friend list would see the post. And out of those people that see the post, only a small fraction would actually read it and yet even fewer would donate. The efficacy is limited. A much better way to help, beside sharing, is to personally appeal to the ones who you think would donate and ask them to spread the words even further. 

I would be very grateful if you could donate, or simply share this crowdfunding page. Thank you for having taken your time to read this. 

Viet Dang


If you want to keep yourself up-to-date with the progress of this project, do feel free to contact me via my Facebook page: