Oct. 1st, 2010

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (academia)
I'm supposed to be giving a talk to misc year 10 and 11 maths students (that's O' level students, I think, to us ancient types) on mathematical careers in academia.

I have half an hour and I've been asked to cover: "career path, qualifications, University life, experiences, Job Spec, potential salary (the pupils always seems to ask how much people earn!)"

I think I have just written 10 of the dullest slides I have ever produced. My will to live saps just glancing over them, and I have 4 more slides than I have any right to for a half hour talk. I am also torn between wanting to stress that you should only consider a career in academia if you really want to know more about your subject, and wanting to bang the "study mathematics" drum.

But really, is anyone going to be inspired to study maths because I tell them I once worked on a project called "Proof and Specification Assisted Design Environments", that all these jobs want you to have a PhD, excellent communication skills and the ability to self-motivate research and that the pay scale at the bottom starts in the low £20,000 per annum and goes up to who knows what because Professors negotiate their own salaries.

Or should I ignore the teacher's request and just waffle about satellites and orbital debris?

Advice much appreciated, especially advice on what it would be useful and interesting for me (as an academic with a maths background) to tell some teenagers...
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (academia)
I'm supposed to be giving a talk to misc year 10 and 11 maths students (that's O' level students, I think, to us ancient types) on mathematical careers in academia.

I have half an hour and I've been asked to cover: "career path, qualifications, University life, experiences, Job Spec, potential salary (the pupils always seems to ask how much people earn!)"

I think I have just written 10 of the dullest slides I have ever produced. My will to live saps just glancing over them, and I have 4 more slides than I have any right to for a half hour talk. I am also torn between wanting to stress that you should only consider a career in academia if you really want to know more about your subject, and wanting to bang the "study mathematics" drum.

But really, is anyone going to be inspired to study maths because I tell them I once worked on a project called "Proof and Specification Assisted Design Environments", that all these jobs want you to have a PhD, excellent communication skills and the ability to self-motivate research and that the pay scale at the bottom starts in the low £20,000 per annum and goes up to who knows what because Professors negotiate their own salaries.

Or should I ignore the teacher's request and just waffle about satellites and orbital debris?

Advice much appreciated, especially advice on what it would be useful and interesting for me (as an academic with a maths background) to tell some teenagers...

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/21026.html.

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