# Questions tagged [career]

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

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

163
questions

297
votes

16
answers

128k
views

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 ...

167
votes

8
answers

17k
views

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 ...

162
votes

22
answers

24k
views

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 ...

156
votes

8
answers

6k
views

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 ...

134
votes

14
answers

27k
views

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 ...

120
votes

16
answers

33k
views

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 ...

104
votes

12
answers

30k
views

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 ...

104
votes

9
answers

33k
views

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 ...

95
votes

7
answers

60k
views

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. ...

90
votes

2
answers

13k
views

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

13
answers

12k
views

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 ...

77
votes

7
answers

18k
views

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 ...

74
votes

7
answers

17k
views

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 ...

73
votes

6
answers

33k
views

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 ...

71
votes

7
answers

7k
views

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 ...

63
votes

8
answers

6k
views

I don't know whether my question is in the appropriate place. I've studied physics, and then did a PhD in (pure) math and 2 postdocs. I definitely love math research, but I am not ready to apply all ...

59
votes

9
answers

9k
views

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 ...

58
votes

12
answers

32k
views

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

4
answers

7k
views

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 ...

55
votes

5
answers

46k
views

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 ...

54
votes

8
answers

6k
views

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

8
answers

10k
views

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 ...

51
votes

4
answers

8k
views

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
votes

3
answers

12k
views

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
votes

8
answers

13k
views

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 ...

47
votes

15
answers

5k
views

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.

47
votes

4
answers

5k
views

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 ...

46
votes

10
answers

8k
views

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

3
answers

12k
views

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 ...

44
votes

8
answers

6k
views

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 ...

42
votes

6
answers

22k
views

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

8
answers

21k
views

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

11
answers

7k
views

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 ...

41
votes

3
answers

8k
views

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 ...

39
votes

9
answers

10k
views

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

3
answers

4k
views

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

3
answers

27k
views

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

7
answers

2k
views

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

7
answers

13k
views

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

14
answers

7k
views

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

7
answers

4k
views

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

3
answers

24k
views

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 ...

32
votes

4
answers

7k
views

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

6
answers

7k
views

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

7
answers

13k
views

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.

30
votes

14
answers

2k
views

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

7
answers

9k
views

Say you write a paper that you feel makes a borderline case for publication in a prestigious journal (Annals, Acta, Inventiones, JAMS, etc). What are the advantages and disadvantages of submitting ...

29
votes

5
answers

4k
views

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

17
answers

6k
views

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 ...

28
votes

11
answers

8k
views

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 ...