Questions tagged [career]

For questions about careers and jobs in mathematics (inside and outside academia)

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285
votes
16answers
121k 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 ...
157
votes
20answers
23k 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 ...
157
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
155
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
130
votes
14answers
26k 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 ...
116
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16answers
32k 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 ...
103
votes
9answers
31k 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 ...
101
votes
12answers
29k 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 ...
95
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7answers
59k views

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

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. ...
89
votes
2answers
12k views

Coming out as transgender in the mathematical community

I don't know if MO is the right place to ask such a question, but anyway it's my only hope to get an answer, and it's very important for me (not to say 'vital'); so let's try. I'm at this time a Ph.D....
79
votes
13answers
11k 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 ...
76
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
72
votes
7answers
16k 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 ...
71
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
70
votes
6answers
32k 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 ...
59
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9answers
9k 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 ...
57
votes
12answers
31k 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 ...
57
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it possible to have a research career while checking the proof of every theorem that you cite?

A colleague raised the above question with me; more precisely he said: Suppose that a mathematician were resolved not to publish any theorems unless they had checked the proof of every theorem ...
53
votes
5answers
45k 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 ...
52
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
52
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
51
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
50
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3answers
12k views

how to use arxiv?

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 putting it on ...
49
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8answers
12k views

The "derived drift" is pretty unsatisfying and dangerous to category theory (or at least, to me) [closed]

I'm currently a young, not-so-young mathematician, finishing its second postdoc. I developed an interest for rather different topics in the last few years but constantly, slowly converged towards ...
46
votes
15answers
5k 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.
46
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10answers
8k 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
45
votes
3answers
12k views

A second Ph.D. in mathematics?

I have now some problems about my research Career, I would like to tell my stories. I am a Chinese guy, but now a Ph.D. candidate in Germany, in the field of so called 'Geometric Analysis', but I do ...
43
votes
8answers
6k views

Should one attack hard problems? [closed]

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 ...
43
votes
6answers
21k 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 "...
42
votes
8answers
20k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
7k views

Publishing a Simple Paper as an Undergraduate

First off I apologize if this question does not belong here, I would be happy to hear about any better locations to post this on. I am a (first year) undergraduate mathematics student, and I recently ...
40
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
38
votes
9answers
10k 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 ...
36
votes
3answers
4k views

Dealing with unwanted co-authorship requests

This post is a sequel to: Collaboration or acknowledgment? The following has come to my attention. A senior mathematician (let us call him or her Alice) suggested a problem to a young mathematician (...
36
votes
3answers
26k 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 ...
36
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 ...
34
votes
7answers
13k 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 ...
33
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 ...
33
votes
14answers
5k views

Is pure mathematics useful outside of mathematics itself? [closed]

From time to time Mathoverflow allows soft questions because they are arguably best answered by active mathematicians and they can benefit other mathematicians/PhD students/math undergraduates. I ...
33
votes
3answers
23k 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 ...
31
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
31
votes
6answers
7k views

Pros and cons of specializing in an esoteric research area

If a mathematician specializes in a popular research area, then there are many job positions available, but at the same time, many competitors who are willing to get such job positions. For an ...
30
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 ...
29
votes
7answers
12k views

Advice on doing mathematical research [closed]

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.
29
votes
5answers
4k views

Collaboration or acknowledgment?

This post is a sequel of: When should a supervisor be a co-author? This time the topic is about the interaction between two professional mathematicians (in particular junior-senior, but not ...
28
votes
11answers
8k 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 ...
28
votes
9answers
4k views

Can breadth hurt a job candidate? [closed]

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 ...
28
votes
5answers
3k 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
17answers
6k views

Research-only permanent positions worldwide

Most academic jobs involve some amount of teaching. Post-docs generally do not, but they are only short-term positions. Question: in which countries can one obtain a research-only permanent ...