Sara Billey

PDL C-036

Have you started to wonder what to do next now that you finished prelims? Or, maybe you are in the midst of a research project and want to learn some useful tips about how other people approach math research. If so, this talk is aimed at you. We will discuss the next major hurdle in your career, becoming a research mathematician, and how to make the process as smooth as possible. After prelims, there are officially only three more hoops you have to jump through before you graduate and head out to the real world:

1. Pass a language exam

2. Pass the General Exam

3. Thesis Defense

The point is that you are on your own to figure out what else needs to be done. There is very little required by the math department day to day. Although these "hoops" are necessary requirements for the degree, they are not achievements in and of themselves. Your ultimate goal is to push the frontier of mathematics (just a little bit).

In order to graduate with a PhD you have to do some original math research. You need to convert all of your class taking skills into research skills. You will need guidance from one or more people in making this major transition from math student to math researcher. This is the purpose of having an advisor. In this talk I will discuss how to go about finding an advisor. I will strongly encourage you to make this your number one academic priority. I will also try to give you some insight about what research in mathematics really means, how you might go about doing it, and most importantly how to have fun during the process. Finally, there will be a number of people around who are at various stages of their graduate career and we will all entertain questions. Feel free to come regardless of where you are in the program.