Questions tagged [career-development]

Questions on mathematical career development. Keep in mind that asking for personal advice about your individual career development is not allowed on Mathematics Stack Exchange. Also consider whether your question is more appropriate for Academia Stack Exchange.

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920 votes
29 answers
99k views

Can I use my powers for good? [closed]

I hesitate to ask this question, but I read a lot of the career advice from MathOverflow and math.stackexchange, and I couldn't find anything similar. Four years after the PhD, I am pretty sure that ...
224 votes
11 answers
36k views

How do I sell out with abstract algebra?

My plan as an undergraduate was unequivocally to be a pure mathematician, working as an algebraist as a bigshot professor at a bigshot university. I'm graduating this month, and I didn't get into ...
196 votes
9 answers
18k views

"Advice to young mathematicians"

I have been suggested to read the Advice to a Young Mathematician section of the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, the short paper Ten Lessons I wish I had been Taught by Gian-Carlo Rota, and the ...
Dal's user avatar
  • 8,164
81 votes
14 answers
14k views

Are all mathematicians human calculators? [closed]

I asked my dad why he did not major in math he said "because he is not good at math". I think I like math, and I think I'm ok at it, but I'm not gifted or anything like that, I just like math. I think ...
Kat's user avatar
  • 1,371
81 votes
12 answers
10k views

I lost my love of math; I'm getting it back. How can I determine if math is actually right for me? [closed]

This question has been on my mind for a very long time, and I thought I'd finally ask it here. When I was 6, my dad pulled me out of school. The classes were too easy; the professors, too dull. ...
Chiefy's user avatar
  • 665
79 votes
3 answers
18k views

String Theory: What to do?

This is going to be a relatively broad/open-ended question, so I apologize before hand if it is the wrong place to ask this. Anyways, I'm currently a 3rd year undergraduate starting to more seriously ...
66 votes
8 answers
14k views

How much Math do you REALLY do in your job?

I am writing this, as I am a currently an intern at an aircraft manufactur. I am studying a mixture of engineering and applied math. During the semester I focussed on numerical courses and my applied ...
66 votes
4 answers
8k views

Mathematicians don't quit, they fade away [closed]

Edit: This question is now closed for being not related to math, but many people pointed out that becoming an actuary is one of the most viable career path for someone with skills in pure math. Noone ...
63 votes
9 answers
12k views

Does it ever make sense NOT to go to the most prestigious graduate school you can get into? [closed]

I'm a senior undergrad at a top-ish(say, top 15) math school. I'm a solid, not stellar, student. This year I'm taking the qualifying exam grad courses in algebra and analysis and have been taken aback ...
60 votes
7 answers
24k views

Should I be worried that I am doing well in analysis and not well in algebra? [closed]

I attend a mostly liberal arts focused university, in which I was able to test out of an "Introduction to Proofs" class and directly into "Advanced Calculus 1" (Introductory Analysis I) and I loved it....
Eric's user avatar
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59 votes
12 answers
10k views

Research done by high-school students

I'm giving a talk soon to a group of high-school students about open problems in mathematics that high-school students could understand. To inspire them, I would like to give them examples of high-...
55 votes
7 answers
18k views

What does it take to get a job at a top 50 math program in the U.S.? [closed]

I'm a senior undergrad right at a small liberal arts college right now who is applying to math PhD programs in the U.S. I would like to eventually become a professor at a relatively good university ...
Mehta's user avatar
  • 595
41 votes
1 answer
14k views

Grad school with low undergrad GPA [closed]

I'm hoping to apply to grad schools this fall. I think I'm a reasonably good candidate, one aspect aside -- I have around a 2.5 undergraduate GPA in-major and failed several math classes in college. ...
Daniel McLaury's user avatar
33 votes
14 answers
19k views

I'm a teenager hoping to become a mathematician, but math isn't my forte. Is it possible? [duplicate]

I am a sophomore in high school and have discovered the joys of mathematics. However,due to sheer irony, at times I find the subject difficult. I am what one could label "lopsided" in my faculties, ...
31 votes
6 answers
8k views

Is a good GRE score enough for a non-math graduate to be accepted in a decent pure mathematics graduate program?

I have a computer engineering degree , and i have studied several mathematics courses like single variable and multiples variables calculus , complex variables , probability , numerical analysis ... ...
29 votes
2 answers
21k views

How to go about studying chaos theory/dynamical systems/fluid dynamics in grad school with a physics background? [closed]

I'm turning to you as I find myself in need of help as to how to best go about studying something related to chaos theory/dynamical systems/fluid dynamics in postgraduate school. I'm currently in my ...
Ryker's user avatar
  • 1,489
27 votes
1 answer
3k views

How difficult is it to get an academic job? [closed]

Like many others here, I hope to someday become a professor. I've heard that it's very, very difficult and competitive in pure math, and I thought I would come here to ask your opinions. For those of ...
wes's user avatar
  • 287
25 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are there any common practices in mathematics to guard against mistakes?

It occurred to me that math is somewhat like programming (or vice-versa, if you prefer) because, in both, it is easy to make mistakes or overlook them, and the smallest error or misguided assumption ...
24 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is it possible to be a mathematician without being mathematically talented? [closed]

Apparently I'm not mathematically talented enough to be hired as a postdoc. Is there any way to earn a living while continuing to do mathematics I love (commutative algebra)? I don't like teaching or ...
ashpool's user avatar
  • 6,828
24 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do I tell if I am able to go to graduate school in math? [closed]

This is my first question on this site, and this question may sound disturbing. My apologies, but I truly need some advice on this. I am a sophomore math major at a fairly good math department (top ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 817
23 votes
2 answers
7k views

Jobs in industry for pure mathematicians [closed]

While I love research and academia and would prefer to continue there, I've found myself in industry and haven't felt it's a good match for my interests. Moreover, I'm constantly frustrated by the ...
anomaly's user avatar
  • 25.3k
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

Pure mathematics in our society

Is there some book or essay which deals with the sociological and economical justification of doing and funding pure mathematics? I'm looking for a modern version of Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology, ...
Martin Brandenburg's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you retain knowledge of multiple undergraduate math courses?

I know, "practice, practice, practice." But is that really what professional mathematicians do? Do you actually solve a differential equation every day, do a contour integral every day, do ...
RobertTheTutor's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Grad school & success in the long run

I am an undergraduate mathematics student at some university in Turkey. I am doing well in math classes. Actually, I did not study very hard in my freshmen year and I got not so high grades from ...
22 votes
3 answers
6k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs (that accept non-American applicants)

There are many summer research programs in the United States, targeted at good motivated undergraduate students majoring in mathematics. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a ...
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Mathematical research outside academia

My goal up through grad school had been to spend my life doing academic, research mathematics. I got screwed by my advisor and department, though, so that hasn't worked out. I would nevertheless still ...
anomaly's user avatar
  • 25.3k
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the expected mathematical repertoire of a Ph.D. program applicant in the US?

I am an undergraduate (currently a sophomore) studying to prepare for applying to a Ph.D. program in mathematics. I have thus far structured my course selection upon the advice of a friend I met ...
Gyu Eun Lee's user avatar
  • 18.7k
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can an older person become an expert in math? [closed]

Is learning math like learning a language, in that there's a certain cutoff age (pretty young) that you need to start learning by, otherwise you'll never be fluent? Is the novice older brain ...
Ac3's user avatar
  • 429
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

Head hunters/job search sites for Mathematicians? [closed]

What are good job search sites, head hunter/recruiting agencies for mathematicians looking for industry jobs? If this question is not appropriate for the math stack exchange, please feel free to ...
Anu's user avatar
  • 301
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

Careers in Math

I am a highschool freshman, and I really like to have goals for my life, one of the big ones is my career of choice. Previously, I have always wanted to be a programmer, and I have written a lot of ...
fr00ty_l00ps's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
665 views

Mathematical Habit

Whenever I have to do proofs or understand a concept, I start with examples and generalize. As an aspiring mathematician, I have fears that it might hurt me, especially when we have so many ...
user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do people with average intelligence stand a chance making a tenure track math professorship at a research university? [closed]

I am interested in math and have been thinking about going for grad school and becoming a research professor since graduating from college. However, a few things that happened recently really make me ...
joe's user avatar
  • 179
16 votes
5 answers
2k views

Do mathematicians Switch Fields of Expertise?

I'm curious if it is common or quite rare for mathematicians to change their area of expertise, whether it be after their PHD or mid-career, how radical this change might be, whether it's often for ...
Zaubertrank's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
16k views

Algebra and Analysis [closed]

I'm a math major at university and my tutor told me that for most people it's best to focus on either algebra or analysis, however I have trouble understanding the difference between them. What are ...
Lara's user avatar
  • 291
16 votes
1 answer
780 views

I'm a late-bloomer, apparently. Do I have any hope of college? [closed]

I'll keep this short. I'm a 26-year-old high school dropout. College never seemed to be in my cards. (I come from a poor family and higher education was always seen as a pipe dream.) My grades in ...
kamalayka's user avatar
  • 169
15 votes
3 answers
15k views

Choosing a PhD topic [closed]

My supervisor and I recently had a long chat about PhD related stuff. He said something to the extent that your chances of employment after finishing your PhD among other factors depends on the topic ...
tom b.'s user avatar
  • 664
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Publishing elementary proofs of theorems

I'm an undergraduate student and I believe I found another proof of Heron's formula. I have a bunch of questions: I would like to publish this "proof" (I haven't found mistakes yet) in some magazine. ...
new's user avatar
  • 137
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Early specialization and career development [closed]

I'm in the last year of my undergraduate studies. I recently decided to become a mathematician and I will apply for a two year master degree as a preparation for a PhD. Looking to various master ...
user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
1k views

Am I fit for higher studies/teaching in mathematics? [closed]

Let me begin with some background: I used to enjoy mathematics immensely in school, and wanted to pursue higher studies. However, everyone around me at that time told me it was a stupid area (that I ...
ankush981's user avatar
  • 2,003
10 votes
1 answer
918 views

Problem regarding mathematical skill of a math lover [closed]

I don’t know whether it would be a good idea to seek solution for some personal problem here. But as there’s no harm in asking I’m putting it under the soft tag. It’s about forming a career in ...
Sriti Mallick's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Should I apply to graduate school for mathematics? [closed]

As the question title suggests, should I apply to graduate school for mathematics? I am currently an undergraduate studying mathematics at some unnamed university in the world about to enter their ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Graduate School (Can I be a Mathematician?) [closed]

I am posing this question for myself, but many people surely are wondering the same, so I think this is valuable for others as well as myself. There are similar questions on the site but they do not ...
SrS's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
1 answer
590 views

What are the characteristics of a good mathematics "side project"? [closed]

A piece of advice for young graduate students (in mathematics) that I've heard frequently is to find early a "side project" to work on alongside your main research enterprise. An obvious question ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What about Genetic Algorithms from a mathematical point of view?

Last year I've attended an Artificial Intelligence course (it was very simple, just a summary of the main ideas); we've seen what a genetic algorithm is and the idea seems very interesting to me. Now ...
Immanuel Weihnachten's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
732 views

Does it make sense to learn any other language except English, being a mathematician? [closed]

Would it be an advantage for a committed modern day research mathematicians to learn any foreign language? Are there works in Russian, French, or any other foreign language being produced or that have ...
Howard Langtone's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
920 views

General Advice on choosing Mathematics as career path [closed]

Firstly, i know that this question will be closed ultimately. But i want to know opinions of various mathematicians here, which is important My Background : I am Bachelors of Arts graduate, 27, ...
J. Deff's user avatar
  • 1,588
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Math under time constraints [closed]

I'm currently an undergrad math student and I have been wondering if being able to perform well under time constraints requires a deeper knowledge of the material than performing under no time ...
Simon Lee's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
847 views

What are some applications of these specific pure math areas?

I'm a pure math PhD specialized in hyperbolic topology, doing a research postdoc right now which ends in August of 2018. So I'll be starting to apply for my next job in the next couple of months. I've ...
j0equ1nn's user avatar
  • 3,419
7 votes
2 answers
843 views

How to select the right books? [closed]

As the saying goes, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, feed him for life." I've always had a problem with selecting appropriate books. It could be a problem that I'm a ...
Ninja Boy's user avatar
  • 3,103
7 votes
2 answers
219 views

How much mathematicians rely on other results?

When mathematicians do research, do they think every detail so that they know exactly every step what it takes to achieve the result from axioms? Or is it possible to work as a researcher without ...
amateur's user avatar
  • 81