LAHORE - Vice Chancellor Government College University Dr Khalid Aftab has said without any doubt, behind the industrial and economic miracles were the rapid advances in basic sciences and none among them is more important than mathematics. He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of 4th Conference on 21st Century Mathematics 2009 at ASSMS of GCU on Wednesday. A large number of foreign scientist, experts, senior teachers and students were also present on the occasion. The conference is organised by ASSMS in collaboration with HEC, European Mathematical Society and International Centre for Theoretical Physics. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Khald Aftab said Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences is an integral part of the varsity's academic programs for creation and transformation of knowledge. He said in advanced economies abundant practical skills based upon scientific knowledge and technologies ensured industrial development and economic growth, which the world had not experienced in the past. He further said the impact of higher education on society and economy is essentially determined by the extent and quality of educational facilities available to the students. He said in Pakistan too the demand for higher learning was now growing at an exponential rate. But the access was being expanded to higher education; standards must not be sacrificed in the process. Dr Khalid Aftab said mathematics had a pivotal role in the race towards knowledge and the conference was an opportunity for transmitting knowledge based on latest research, which were considered as an essential part of the academic programs of all the prominent universities. He hoped that Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences would live up to the expectations of the academic community. Speaking on the occasion, President European Mathematical Society and Head of Department of Mathematics Imperial College London Prof Dr Ari Laptev said Mathematics is the core of science and Abdul Salam School of Mathematical Sciences has witnessed enormous and rapid development during the last few years. Expressing his pleasure over the role, which ASSMS played in promoting mathematics, he said youngsters are not much interested in the subject but the level of enthusiasm and interest in Pakistani students for mathematics is really impressive. DG ASSMS Dr AD Raza said that ASSMS was one of the success stories of Pakistan. It had started the largest PhD Programme of South Asia and presently more than 100 PhD scholars were pursuing their research at the institute, adding that the faculty and students had got their 200 research papers published in international journals. He also said that the school had a very successful post-doctoral program too, while professional skills programmes had also been started for the students. He revealed that a research and monitoring agency, 'Science Watch', had considered Pakistan as 'Rising Start' in Mathematics.