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Being a Professional Mathematician — now available as a podcast

When I worked for the MSOR Network under the National HE STEM Programme, we funded a project called Being a Professional Mathematician which was run by Tony Mann (University of Greenwich) and Chris Good (University of Birmingham). This included the production of a set of audio interviews with mathematicians about their work and historians about historical mathematicians. This audio is now available to listen to in podcast format.

Get the Being a Professional Mathematician podcast in RSS format.

Get the Being a Professional Mathematician podcast on iTunes.

The wider project includes resources and suggestions for using this audio in teaching undergraduates, inclunding the booklet Being a Professional Mathematician.


Mathematical myths, legends and inaccuracies: some examples

I’m teaching a first-year module on the history of mathematics for undergraduate mathematicians this term. In this, I’m less concerned about students learning historical facts and more that they gain a general awareness of history of maths while learning about the methods used to study history.

Last week, I decided I would discuss myths and inaccuracies. Though I am aware of a few well-known examples, I was struggling to find a nice, concise debunking of one. I asked on Twitter for examples, and here are the suggestions I received, followed by what I did.

Maths helps maths graduates get professional jobs

The Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE, pronounced ‘deli’) survey sends a questionnaire to all UK university graduates six months after graduation and this gives some idea of what happens to students once they graduate. It is flawed, but has a high response rate and is an interesting tool.

There is a second type of DLHE survey, which is longitudinal. This surveys graduates 3.5 years after graduation, and the 2010/11 longitudinal data has just been released. This deserves some investigation and I don’t have time right now, but I did notice a couple of tables that make me proud of my subject.