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119
votes
8answers
4k views

Resources for mathematics advising.

This question is possibly ill-advised. (If it is not right for this site I will delete it.) I, suddenly, have students. It is very clear to me that there is nothing in my education that has ...
115
votes
16answers
46k views

What's a mathematician to do? [closed]

I have to apologize because this is not the normal sort of question for this site, but there have been times in the past where MO was remarkably helpful and kind to undergrads with similar types of ...
91
votes
14answers
12k views

When should a supervisor be a co-author?

What are people's views on this? To be specific: suppose a PhD student has produced a piece of original mathematical research. Suppose that student's supervisor suggested the problem, and gave a few ...
91
votes
16answers
19k views

How do you keep your research notes organized? [closed]

One of the things I struggle with most in doing research is keeping my notes organized. Since research tends to do a lot of branching, keeping notes in a linear fashion seems useless to me. On the ...
86
votes
14answers
13k views

Careers advice for Ph.D.s without current postdocs or university jobs

Hi, I'm sure I'm not the only Ph.D. mathematician on MO in serious need of career advice. I'm sure there will be other readers in similar situations, who will find any good advice very helpful. Can ...
83
votes
7answers
6k views

How to escape the inclination to be a universalist or: How to learn to stop worrying and do some research.

As an undergraduate we are trained as mathematicians to be universalists. We are expected to embrace a wide spectrum of mathematics. Both algebra and analysis are presented on equal footing with ...
68
votes
13answers
7k views

How does an academic mathematician educate him/herself about job opportunities outside academia?

One of the contradictions of being a math professor is that a big part of your job is to train people to do things which are quite different from what you do yourself professionally; this is ...
53
votes
7answers
4k views

When should you, and should you not, share your mathematical ideas?

Perhaps this is a biased forum for this "downer" question, but I've never figured this out. At what stage is it safe to share mathematical ideas? Many have told me that there is serious danger of ...
52
votes
12answers
14k views

Where are mathematics jobs advertised if not on mathjobs (e.g. in Europe and elsewhere)?

My impression is that in the US, there is a canonical place for finding math jobs, namely mathjobs.org. For those of us who live and apply for jobs elsewhere, life is more complicated, and searching ...
51
votes
7answers
5k views

What universities have laid off tenured math faculty for financial reasons?

When a math department lays off tenured staff, people cry out loud. But, 10 years later, such memories are no longer popular discussion subjects, and so the information doesn't always spread. Those ...
51
votes
7answers
5k views

What items MUST appear on a mathematician's CV?

Writing a CV makes me paranoid that I'm failing to abide by unwritten rules. Of course CVs are flexible to capture the diversity of accomplishments someone might have. But there must be plenty of ...
46
votes
7answers
24k views

How Much Work Does it Take to be a Successful Mathematician?

Hi Everyone, Famous anecdotes of G.H. Hardy relay that his work habits consisted of working no more than four hours a day in the morning and then reserving the rest of the day for cricket and tennis. ...
45
votes
5answers
4k views

Changing field of study post-PhD

I am doing my PhD in algebraic graph theory, for not much more reason than that was what was available. However, I love deep structure and theory in mathematics, and I do not particularly want to be ...
44
votes
8answers
3k views

Proper way to deal with papers you've already refereed.

This question is anonymous for obvious reasons. I referee what feels like a decent number of papers (though I don't know how many is normal!), and I try to take it seriously. Sometimes, based on ...
40
votes
8answers
4k views

Publishing a bad paper?

First, I apologize if mathoverflow is a bad fit for this question, but it is the only place where I can think to get advice from professionals given my circumstance. I'm also sorry about any vagueness ...
39
votes
11answers
6k views

What areas of pure mathematics research are best for a post-PhD transition to industry?

I have a student who is looking to start a PhD in pure mathematics. She is talented and motivated, and will do quite well. She is still in a phase of her development where she is still open to the ...
38
votes
7answers
4k views

How do you not forget old math?

I am trying to not forget my old math. I finished my PhD in real algebraic geometry a few years ago and then switched to the industry for financial reasons. Now I get the feeling that I want to do a ...
36
votes
8answers
10k views

How hard is it to get tenure in mathematics?

My curiousity provoked by this question and Igor's answer, I'd like to know: how many mathematics PhD's who want to get a tenured job as a research mathematician actually get that job? As a first ...
36
votes
4answers
11k views

Are there examples of (successful) NSF mathematics proposals available anywhere online?

As anyone who has ever applied to the NSF for a grant knows, such a proposal is a slightly odd piece of writing, not quite like anything else mathematicians are called upon to write. As such, it's a ...
35
votes
6answers
6k views

Teaching statements for math jobs?

What is the purpose of the "teaching statement" or "statement of teaching philosophy" when applying for jobs, specifically math postdocs? I am applying for jobs, and I need to write one of these ...
34
votes
7answers
2k views

Informal online seminars or reading groups via videoconferencing?

Does the following exist, and if not, does anyone besides me wish it did? A web site where a mathematician (say) could find other mathematicians who want to study the same book or paper, and arrange ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

How much reading do you do before you attack a problem?

When going off on a tangent from your regular area, where, presumably, you have such mastery of all cutting-edge research from your routine reading that you hardly need to do any extra (if this is ...
31
votes
10answers
4k views

What can an algebraic geometer do outside academia? [closed]

This question is inspired by this and this. But it is not a duplicate, read on. Please don't close it: I choose to be anonymous just not to be identified. About to be on the job market, disenchanted ...
30
votes
10answers
5k views

Tools for Organizing Papers?

Much like a previous question on keeping research notes organized, my question is how people keep their pile of papers organized. I've got a stack of about 100 in my office, most of them classifying ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it worthwhile to give off-topic talks?

I am a graduate student. Occasionally for some reason I am asked to give a talk on my research at a conference whose stated purpose is almost completely unrelated to my research. To preserve my ...
28
votes
6answers
8k views

“Industry”/Government jobs for mathematicians

Suppose that you graduate with a good PhD in mathematics, but don't necessarily want to go into academia, with the post-doc years that this entails. Are there any other options for continuing to do ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

How does one handle two-body job searches?

One thing I've heard conflicting advice on is how to handle a job search for two people simultaneously; especially the strategy of things like: when do you mention your situation to the departments in ...
27
votes
4answers
4k views

When to start reviewing

Recently I had a few papers published, and I suppose in response to this, I received a request from Zentralblatt to be a reviewer. They ask some general questions about what I would feel comfortable ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Presenting work in progress [closed]

At some point in the evolution of a project, one has to decide when to start talking about it in seminars and at conferences. I am interested in hearing about how other mathematicians make this ...
26
votes
2answers
9k views

Digital Pen for Math: Your Experiences?

This question is similar to this question but with a slightly different purpose. For many of the reasons presented in that question, note taking can be useful but tedious. Similarly, this question ...
25
votes
14answers
2k views

Webpages for specialized communities

First, my apology for this soft question. My excuse was that I really think this may be of interest to the community. I would understand if it gets closed (I have advocated closing some soft questions ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Choosing postdocs

In this period I have been applying for some postdoc positions. One of the main difficulties is that there is no central organization, so the times and practices for applying vary considerably even in ...
24
votes
9answers
3k views

Can breadth hurt a job candidate?

I am a junior mathematician, currently on the job market. I have been involved in a number of projects spread over several very different topics of mathematics, some being very mathematical projects ...
24
votes
3answers
11k views

What counts as an 'invited' talk?

When you write your CV, what do you count as an invited talk? Does it count if you're invited but not provided funding (this has happened to me several times at AMS special sessions)? What if someone ...
23
votes
11answers
5k views

Switching Research Fields

I am a recent PhD specializing in algebraic geometry. But I also want to do research in some other areas of math (e.g. quantum computation, compressed sensing, and PDE's). What would be a good way of ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

Advice for pure-math Phd students [closed]

Pursuing a Phd in pure math can be a daunting task. A number of students who begin a Phd in pure math don't complete it, and there are high-quality dissertations and those which are not so high ...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

“How not to write an NSF proposal” poster: does any one know where to find it online?

When I was recently at MSRI, they had a big poster of humorous advice on how to get an NSF proposal rejected (for example: "Definitely don't worry about sending it to an appropriate program officer. ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

Should one attack hard problems?

When I applied for a PhD student position I had an interview with two professors. Somehow we touched the problem if $P$ is $NP$ and, once we got there, for some reason both professors made it clear ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

how to use arxiv?

Hello, This is a soft question. How do people usually use arxiv to put their papers? At which stage does one usually put his/her paper/report there? Someone suggests me to submit a paper while ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

Research topics restricted to students at top universities?

Hello everybody. I am a Ph.D student in North America looking for advice about my prospective research area. My supervisor works in a research area, let's say area A, so as soon as I was accepted as ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you make a good math research poster for a non-mathematical audience?

I have the opportunity to prepare a research poster for a non-mathematical, yet scientifically savvy audience, and I want to do it well. I have asked a few mathematicians, and I have heard the ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

switching jobs when you have a tenure-track position

I hope this topic is appropriate for MO. I have a tenure-track position at a US university in a location where my spouse is very unhappy, severely underemployed, and has no real prospect of finding ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

What math institutes offer research in pairs/research in teams?

Some math institutes offer programs in which a small number of researchers are enabled to meet at the institute for a week or more. A list seemed as if it could be useful.
20
votes
7answers
5k views

Advice on doing mathematical research

Please share any general tips or advice you have on doing mathematical research. How do you identify good problems to work on or to think about? What do you do when you get stuck on a problem? Etc.
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Changing Careers: Becoming a Professional Mathematician

First, I apologize if this question is too soft or doesn't comport precisely with what is considered a good question, but I know of no other place to ask it. A little background: I obtained an ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Publication and Career as a fresh Ph.D

This may be a little off topic. But as new Ph.D in geometry/topology area, I have a feeling that it is relatively harder to publish a descent paper. However after seeing some peers who study PDE or ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

How to assess research “impact” for tenure/promotion committees

Over the last several years, the college-level promotion & tenure committee at my university has increasingly been seeking to apply "objective" criteria for assessing the impact of candidates' ...
20
votes
0answers
1k views

What to do when your work is 'dissed' [closed]

I'm posting this anonymously, for obvious reasons (if you guess who I am please keep it under your hat). I recently finished my PhD and am about to publish the first paper from my thesis. No sooner ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Moving to academia from industry

I hope that the following question is suitable for MO. There have been several others in a similar vein, including this one about moving from maths into industry, this one about careers advice for ...
19
votes
3answers
12k views

How to transition from pure math PhD to nonacademic career?

I'm finishing up a PhD in math and am thinking about options outside of academia. So far, I've really only focused on pure mathematics, but I have a year left of grad school. Suppose I am interested ...