I will be graduating soon with my PhD in mathematics, but do not intend to pursue an academic career. I do, however want to continue to dabble and toy with the ideas I have invested so much to immerse myself in. I love the idea that I may come up with a result or two in my lifetime. But I just don't jive well with research pressures.

It is a faux pas to attend a conference independently, and just pay the registration fee myself?

It would seem that registration is open to anyone technically, but I have never enjoyed making a fool out of myself. I appreciate the clarification.

  • 5
    Go for it. I don't see why this would be a problem.
    – Thomas
    Jul 12, 2017 at 21:11
  • 2
    I don't think this is all that unusual. In my field it is pretty common to have industry practitioners show up with little or no interest in doing academics, but interested nonetheless in what people have to say. (Or perhaps they've just convinced their boss to send them on a paid trip.) They're also sometimes interested in soliciting academics to work on problems that are interesting to their company.
    – David
    Jul 12, 2017 at 22:11
  • I recently attended a conference in a field somewhat tangential to my research, at which I did not present a paper or give a talk. I paid for the registration, lodging, and travel myself (with help from family). It was small (173 people) and no one had any issue with it. This may be specific to physics, though.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 12, 2017 at 23:55
  • @Obie2.0 - often when seeking accomodation, you can mention the conference you are attending and get a modest discount. Did you do this?
    – roo
    Jul 13, 2017 at 19:04
  • I didn't get a discount, to my knowledge.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 14, 2017 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


Go for it ... probably.

There are no doubt aspects of conferences that are specific to individual fields, so my answer based on experience in Computer Science may not apply to Mathematics. But I'm guessing the answer to this is somewhat general, in that some conferences are small (and may be largely limited to people who are actively participating/presenting) while others are larger. If you pick a large enough conference, with many more attendees than presenters, no one will think twice of who you are or why you're there.

  • 2
    Don't you hate it when someone downvotes an answer with no comment? Jul 13, 2017 at 17:10

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