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Questions tagged [mathematics]

On standards or conventions specific to mathematics as an academic discipline, and programs that lead to a degree in this field.

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77
votes
7answers
14k views

Should I admit that I can't find a solution to a math problem?

The problem is pretty much the title. I have a bachelor and master degree in applied math. I have been assigned a small problem to start with, from a professor (who is considered very good in my field)...
59
votes
3answers
10k views

How to acknowledge a MathOverflow user?

I am writing a research paper. A small but important idea for the paper was found on MathOverflow. I know the real name of the user. I tried contacting him and offered him co-authorship, but I got no ...
57
votes
1answer
5k views

I found a nontrivial mistake in my currently-under-review paper. Should I send a correction to the editor?

I submitted the paper to a respectable journal about five months ago. My field is mathematics, and I'm at the postdoc stage of my career. The proof of one of my theorems is more or less completely ...
21
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4answers
3k views

Answering “Why do you want to become a research mathematician?”-type questions in a statement of purpose

How should one address the classic "Why do you want to become a research mathematician?"-type question that is normally asked in the statement of purpose when applying to Masters (and also) programs? ...
12
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2answers
8k views

Improving my PhD application for math programs

This past year I was accepted into two mid range phd programs in mathematics without funding. Here's what my profile looked like: Domestic White Male Unknown state school in the midwest Majors: ...
31
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4answers
3k views

Do exercises in a theoretical reference book need to be solved when doing research?

I am a first year graduate student in a computational math program. Based on my background (I just finished a one-semester graduate real analysis course), instead of reading a specific textbook, my ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Planning for grad school

I am a second year under-graduate student in mathematics. My school (3 years under-grad) has a great history of sending its under-graduates to top graduate level math programs of the US universities. ...
44
votes
15answers
13k views

MS in Mathematics, having trouble finding work outside teaching algebra

10 years ago, I got an undergraduate degree in IT/CompSci from a good school. I spent most of my hours playing video games or drinking beer, and learned only enough to get a barely passing GPA. I ...
16
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2answers
5k views

Cover letter for journal submission (math)

I'm preparing to submit a math paper to a good general-interest journal. The page asks for a cover letter. What should this include, beyond "here's a paper for consideration"? Should there be, for ...
73
votes
12answers
20k views

My math students consider me a harsh grader. Is my teaching attitude wrong?

I am a math major grad student at a big public school, and we need to do TA every semester. I got assigned to lower level classes last couple semesters, and it's been quite difficult for me. Even ...
69
votes
6answers
8k views

Should all authors on a paper be comfortable explaining every aspect of the paper?

Say I am person A who has built up some degree of expertise in mathematical topic X. Person B works on mathematical topic Y and realizes she needs a result from topic X. She asks me if I know how to ...
33
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4answers
5k views

When should one include the proof of known results in a mathematical PhD thesis?

When writing a PhD thesis on mathematics one needs to quote many results by others, such as The following theorem was proved by ABC in [1]. Theorem. Bla, bla, bla... My question is when ...
18
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4answers
5k views

What percentage of phds in math actually get a tenure track academic job?

I'm interested in knowing what percentage of math phds actually succeed in landing a tenure track academic job? Also, does a phd from AMS Group 1 guarantees you an academic job in top universities? ...
53
votes
7answers
7k views

Is it standard for a math research paper to include less detail in proofs than a typical textbook would?

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student in Mathematics. Recently, I read a mathematics paper. It seems that the proof in the paper is not as convincing as what one might find in a textbook. For ...
42
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3answers
3k views

Applying for postdocs: mention two-body problem in cover letter?

My spouse and I are both finishing Ph.D's in math and applying for math postdocs in the US. We work in different areas of math, but there are many departments in which both are prominently represented....
31
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5answers
5k views

How can I get feedback for my work in math if I'm not in academia?

I will soon finish my undergraduate degree in math, and I want to study mathematics as a hobby after I graduate. Online, I see a general trend of people saying You can't learn real math without ...
26
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5answers
13k views

If you want to do a PhD in mathematics, how important is it to start immediately after finishing undergraduate studies?

I'm about to finish my undergraduates studies; I majored in mathematics and minored in physics, and I always intended on going to grad school to pursue a PhD in mathematics, but I've been having ...
26
votes
7answers
6k views

How detailed should proofs be in a mathematical PhD thesis?

I heard this suggestion from a mathematics professor: In writing a mathematical Ph.D. thesis, it is far more tolerable to be tediously-lengthy than having a gap in the proofs. I think what he means ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Should I mention a “math depression” I went through in my letter of motivation?

I am a master student in mathematics studying in Europe and I am applying to several graduate schools in the USA. They aren't all Top 10 in these dubious rankings, but I am applying to Harvard, ...
8
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4answers
9k views

Mathematics research status in India

I am an Indian student. I am not related to any kind of mathematics research. So I do not have proper idea about it. I may join in as a PhD after a few months. I want to get a picture of the research ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

How to overcome a mistake you make in your proof and regain motivation?

I am an undergraduate student in computer science, and I have been working as an undergraduate researcher in theoretical computer science for 7 months. There was this problem that my supervisor ...
25
votes
8answers
7k views

How can I get a PhD position to work on solving a particular mathematics problem that I have formulated independently?

I have a pure mathematics problem which I formulated after years of research in signal processing of audio signals and years going into formulating a problem on precise mathematical terms, which is a ...
22
votes
4answers
8k views

How can an undergraduate be recognized for work done on a paper, with a fellow PhD student and a professor?

I am an undergraduate student, and recently I was introduced a PhD student in my university's math department. In a brief interaction with him, he mentioned that he was doing work in Differential ...
11
votes
1answer
995 views

Where can one find jobs where companies hire mathematicians where they can do (not necessarily mainstream) research?

Several companies (google, IBM etc.) are known to hire mathematicians with advanced degrees (Ph.D. and so) to work in different sectors. Many such jobs are also research jobs, if not all. But I almost ...
48
votes
6answers
7k views

How hard is it to succeed in research after an adviser's death midway through PhD?

TL;DR: How hard would it be to finish out a Ph.D. and have an effective early career (as a pure mathematician) after my adviser has unexpectedly passed away? My department does not have any tenure-...
27
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2answers
2k views

What to do with research results while being in high school?

I have written a math paper on combinatorics (a generalization of a math olympiad problem) and am looking to get it published. I believe I have discovered something new (although I don't claim it is "...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Should I stay in PhD program I dislike to have a shot at liberal arts teaching?

TL;DR: I'm a pure math graduate student who doesn't like research mathematics. Should I continue and get the PhD because I suspect I might like teaching at a 4-year liberal arts college? I am ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Do course buyouts happen in pure mathematics?

I am a pure mathematician teaching a 2-2 load at a state research university in the United States. I know that many of my colleagues in applied math, engineering, and the laboratory sciences are able ...
13
votes
3answers
971 views

Time management as a TA in mathematics

I just started being a TA in mathematics at a university in continental Europe. My big problem is my time management: I feel like I don't have time for my own research. During a working time of 40h ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Can we get a PhD in mathematics without publishing?

Do many universities allow students to get a PhD in mathematics without publishing a paper?
13
votes
1answer
501 views

What are the ethics of getting help from online forums?

As an engineer, sometimes in my research I come across a mathematical problem that either is beyond my mathematical skills, or I know that someone, somewhere must have seen something like it before ...
12
votes
4answers
12k views

How difficult Is a PhD Program?

I am a Master's student in math who is doing pretty well so far. I aced my first two classes (real analysis) and my summer session in probability theory is going well, too. Even before my Master's ...
9
votes
3answers
887 views

What metrics are used to judge a mathematical journal's quality?

The metric I see most on the internet and on journals' home pages is the 'Impact Factor'. Are there any other metrics that are considered as important as (or more important than) the Impact Factor?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How can a senior undergraduate find academic journals in math and computer science?

I am going to be a senior undergraduate and am looking to really find the area of research that I would like to be engaged in during graduate-school/senior year. I have submitted one conference paper ...
6
votes
6answers
740 views

Good books/resource on mathematical writing

I am a freshly graduated Ph.D. I want to improve further my mathematical writing (in English, if this matters). I am looking for books/resource that address good mathematical writing. I can find some ...
6
votes
2answers
587 views

As a new Ph.D. student (mathematical statistics) how should I read papers for research?

My question is about how to best read mathematics papers for research. I just passed the last qualifying exam as a Ph.D. student in mathematics (studying statistics) and I'm reaching the point where ...
37
votes
8answers
15k views

How do professors view a student who has good grades but always asks stupid questions?

I am planning to apply for Ph.D programs in mathematics in U.S. and I am thinking about which professors I should ask for letters of recommendations from. In order to get "strong" letters, I need to ...
33
votes
9answers
7k views

In a math talk, is it better to display the number of slides left?

In a math talk (at a seminar or a conference, not teaching) that uses projected slides, is it better to display the number of slides left or not? What are the pros and cons? Some people tell me they ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Are the Hardy-Littlewood “rules” unethical?

For the second time recently, someone mentioned to me the Hardy-Littlewood rules for collaboration (and on that very site). From what I read about it, they include the following rule: And, finally, ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

How much does a student's ranking in their cohort matter for PhD applications?

I am from one of the top UK institutions studying mathematics. I am under the impression that UK universities tend to have a larger cohort (~150 per year) than US but perhaps I am wrong. I would ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

How can an undergraduate student conducting mathematical research with a professor expect to contribute?

I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Applied Math. I have been reading recent papers published by two of my professors who I admire and I'm wondering what it would be like to conduct ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Getting into math ten years after a BA in English

I got a BA in English at a pretty good school, spent the next 10 years in a fruitless pursuit of screenwriting with a day job in a legal department, and now that I'm sick of all that, I'd like to do ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Finding Post-PhD employment in Mathematics - How difficult?

I have completed a 4 year bachelor of Mathematics at a decent university, and a comment was made by Pete L. Clark, on this website, here: "post-PhD academic job market is one step shy of airtight at ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Ways to spend gap year/semester before applying to mathematics PhD

I was just reading in the answers to some other questions (here and here) that it's not necessarily disadvantageous (and it may even be advantageous) to take a year or semester off after finishing my ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Are mathematics REUs absolutely limited to undergraduates?

I had an amazing time at my REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) last summer. I would really love to do another one this year. Problem is, I am about to graduate, so I will technically not ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

How does a low quantitative score on GRE general exam affect admissions to mathematics PhD programs?

I am applying to pure math grad school for Ph.D. this fall (usually top 20-25). I just took my GRE test and found out that my Quantitative score for General GRE is 156. I am not sure about the ...
4
votes
2answers
525 views

Advice for a math PhD student who is also interested in a part of EE/CS

I'm a pure math (geometry/topology-oriented) PhD student at a top-level American university. I recently got interested in machine learning and read the recent papers. Unfortunately, machine learning ...
40
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I tell if I'm being too picky as a referee?

I am a mathematician, frequently asked to referee papers. (As my career progresses, I now find myself frequently asked to referee good papers.) I have found that I've gotten pickier and pickier as a ...
32
votes
3answers
6k views

How can one's career as a reviewer be ended?

In this forum, I am reading this great question (What is required of a mathematics referee?) by a user with the name mathprofessor. There is an answer by a user with the name Buffy which starts with: ...
27
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it a bad idea to say in my statement of purpose that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily to work in industry?

I am seeking some general advice from applied mathematicians at American universities. In my statement of purpose, would my stating that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily for the ...