If numbers go on to infinity, then the amazing journey of discovering its intricacies and applications extends even further. This is what has inspired some mathematicians who are pursuing their passion without second thoughts.E. Pramod, an M.Sc Mathematics student at IIT-Madras, for instance did his B.Tech at the same institute which would have earned him a fat pay-package. But this did not stop him from pursuing M.Sc in Mathematics which he loved right from school. â€œI gave in to advice from people that a B.Tech course would be the best bet, but at the undergraduate level I struggled since I had no interest in engineering,â€ he says.Mathematics can be broadly divided into pure, applied and computational mathematics. Often the perception that taking up a course in mathematics limits one to academics has forced many to prefer professional courses. But IT companies and financial institutions with R&D facilities need the expertise of mathematicians, particularly from the area of computational mathematics.â€œThere are very few students with the right skill sets, and companies are ready to recruit them. In our course we give students theoretical knowledge, but it is up to the students to develop an in-depth knowledge in the particular area he is interested in. Actuarial mathematics and financial mathematics are some such specialisations which are in demand in the insurance and banking sectors,â€ says V. Vetrivel, who is in-charge of the placement cell at IIT-Madras.Another interesting field is cryptology, a specialisation the Chennai Mathematical Institute plans to introduce. With the emergence of e-commerce and online transactions, this is likely to become one of the most sought-after courses. â€œFor any electronic transaction, the basic protection we use is a password. This is an example of the simplest application of cryptology. But for more important communications, security and confidentiality is key. Students of cryptology will be involved in developing complex methods to ensure the best protocols for information transfer,â€ says Rajeeva Karandikar, director, Chennai Mathematical Institute.â€œPresently in India, this application is most importantly used in the defence sector, while in other sectors ready-made products developed in other countries are used. But over the course of time, India should also be able to develop its own expertise and security systems,â€ he says.Despite the development of so many career opportunities, academics cannot be ignored in mathematics. â€œFor those who have an inclination for theoretical mathematics, teaching is always a good option as it also gives ample time to research on the field you are truly passionate about,â€ says Saswata Adhikari, a Ph.D student.The application of mathematics also extends to other areas like physics, biology, medicine and even social sciences. There is always scope for a mathematician to collaborate and work with people from other fields to take up substantial research, academics say. Students, however, feel that the undergraduate level is the most crucial period when they need motivation and better exposure. â€œIn my second year of B.Sc Mathematics I began visualising geometrical models and developing a real interest in the field. If there are people to guide and motivate students at this stage, more students will feel inclined to take up science subjects too,â€ says B.N. Suhas, a Ph.D student.It is not a tough job for teachers to catch the math-minded students at schools. Students who refuse to learn by-heart the formulae but â€œwho understand the concepts and know how to apply them are potential mathematicians,â€ says Mr. Karandikar.