Before you tell me that this question has been asked, give me a bit of your time please to read this question because it is not as simple as it sounds.
I did my undergraduate degree in mathematics, taking a pretty heavy course load in theoretical math and doing really well in it. I decided not to proceed with math and am continuing on to a professional degree.
However, every once in a while I have doubts about my decision because it was made on more than one basis, i.e. passion for a given academic subject. One of the reasons was that, seeing my professors, it seemed that mathematicians were very much living in a world of their own and every time I asked for an application of what I was studying, e.g. Galois theory, I got two sorts of answers:
An application of the concept in another area of mathematics...which is not what I was looking for.
A trivial application where a physical/computational/etc system is "modelled" with the concept, e.g. something is a "group", but the recognition that it is was completely useless since the application did not produce a result that would have been otherwise unknown.
My question is: If I changed my mind, applied to do a graduate degree in mathematics and decided to work in a field outside of academia, would I have useful applications of what I studied (and not just a tiny fraction of what I studied, e.g. ODEs) in "real" life"?
I'm very much interested in algebraic geometry (and I am being honest when I say that it is one of the rare things that makes me truly giddy thinking about it). I think you would really answer my question if you could give me an example of a real life problem (not in excessive detail) that was solved thanks to techniques of algebraic geometry. I don't think I have the knowledge of AG to understand the details, so I am more interested in the statement of the "real"-life problem and the non-trivial result of its mathematical modelling using concepts in algebraic geometry.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help. I'm really trying to do some soul searching here and you could really help me with it.