I am a faculty member in a department that is not mathematics, but is highly-ranked in my field. I greatly enjoy working with mathematicians, and have had a number of successful collaborations.

Sadly, when I first meet a new mathematician I am often met with skepticism because I do not have the right pedigree, i.e., neither my bachelor's degree nor my PhD come from a math department. Often I find myself in a situation where, rather than exploring fun an interesting ideas together, I get things "explained" to me as though I am an outside amateur with pie-in-the-sky ideas.

Ironically, I almost completed a double-major in math as an undergrad, but rather than fulfilling the last few course requirements, I was advised to take the upper-elective math electives that I found most interesting unless I "really needed the math diploma for a job or something." In grad school, I didn't do math quals of course, but did take plenty of courses in the math department (and from the best of them!). And did a thesis co-advised by a mathematician. Not to mention the enormous amount of time I've spent learning on my own, and the perspectives that I've been so fortunate to absorb from my collaborators in math, and from the numerous conferences and workshops I've participated in. I don't regret the path I've taken (it's been exciting and fulfilling), but I still find myself wishing I had the damn pedigree.

So, question: what's the easiest way to convince a new mathematician that I belong to his/her tribe? (So that we can just get on to the important business of exploring fun and interesting ideas...)


closed as off-topic by Peter Crooks, Andrés E. Caicedo, Andy Putman, Lucia, Neil Strickland Feb 8 '15 at 19:34

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center." – Andrés E. Caicedo, Andy Putman, Neil Strickland
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ "Fred E. Katt" is not my real name! $\endgroup$ – Fred E. Katt Feb 8 '15 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @FredE.Katt: this question is deemed off-topic because its content is not plain math research, albeit really related to math research. Maybe you could try on academia.stackexchange.com. $\endgroup$ – Loïc Teyssier Feb 8 '15 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Andy: thanks for your consideration of this question here and on the meta page. I do find the response a bit ironic, though: I am a research mathematician. My question was precisely about how to avoid the stigma that is now being expressed by the closing of this question. $\endgroup$ – Fred E. Katt Feb 8 '15 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ Fred E. Katt is not a research mathematician. If you want respect and the benefit of the doubt on career/personal advice on MO, use your real name. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Feb 8 '15 at 21:05
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    $\begingroup$ In some universities (including mine), faculty members in one department can have "courtesy appointments" in another. These are 0% appointments, with no salary, no teaching load, and no other duties. They serve as an indication that the person interacts, in a serious way, with faculty in that second department. You might check whether your university has such arrangements. $\endgroup$ – Andreas Blass Feb 8 '15 at 23:20

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