MTH 599: Introduction to Mathematics Profession

  • This "Introduction to Mathematics Profession" class is coordinated by Graduate Chair, M. Peszynska, with participation by other Mathematics Graduate Faculty, and guests.

    Students who complete this class will have satisfied the Ethics component of graduate study required by Graduate School.

  • Class content: We will dicuss the ethics of the profession and more generally "responsible conduct of research", and how this is applied in our field of mathematics. There will be also meetings with Dr Swisher and Dr Beisiegel to discuss teaching issues. We will also discuss career options for mathematicians, developing skills and techniques to identify/ apply/ compete for/ and suceed in (i) academia, (ii) government, (iii) industry, and other careers. We will touch upon mathematical writing and presentations, and techniques for research using library and online tools.
    As we continue towards Spring, we will talk about how to choose an major professor/adviser who would guide you through the rest of your graduate study. There will be a few visits from Mathematics Graduate Faculty and other professionals who would present research and career opportunities in their area. We will ALSO include visits of Mathematics graduate alumni.

  • Meetings: We will meet on Wednesdays noon in STAG 160 (Spring term), and STAG 112 (Winter term).
  • Grading is on S/U basis.
    1. Attendance in all but one class meetings is required for an S grade. In extenuating circumstances (when more absences are inevitable), please contact the Instructor.
    2. The class will be run as a "flipped" classroom: reading of some materials will be assigned, and students are expected to come to the class meetings prepared for discussion.
    3. The materials and HW will be posted/sent by email, and HW will be usually due weekly by Friday afternoon. It is the student's responsibility to read the materials ahead of the meeting.
    4. Active participation in discussions and class activities is required. This will include answering to polls, emails, and similar, as dictated by class schedule.

    Special arrangements for students with disabilities: please contact the instructor and Services for Students with Disabilities prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at 737-4098.
    Course drop/add information is at
    Student Conduct: All students are expected to obey to OSU's student conduct regulations, see OSU's Statement of Expectations for Student Conduct at this link, and specifically the information about Academic or Scholarly Dishonesty beginning on p.2. In particular, please consult the definitions of (A) CHEATING, (C) ASSISTING, and (E) PLAGIARISM, as well as recommended handling.

  • Weekly Schedule (Winter):
    1. 1/10/18: Meet the alumni: Brandon Edwards (webex)

      Topic: Career options. Read Chapters 10,11,12 in O'Leary's book and follow the links in to articles by Kelton, or by Seitelman, or O'Neil, or any of the other career/job sites in the collection below. OSU Career Development Center, Thinking of a Career in Applied Mathematics?. Also: [], [], [], [], [],
      Discussion: what does it me to be a professional mathematician.
      HW Assignment due Fri 1/12/18 by 5:00pm. Based on the resources, please email me a paragraph on: (a) the career you would most likely choose, (b) the career you would least likely choose.

    2. 1/17/18:

      Topic: Ethics in Mathematics, Part 1. Read AMS Ethics Guidelines, and Chapter 13 from O'Leary's book. We will discuss part IV later.
      Discussion: contemporary issue in which you think mathematics/mathematicians are involved and in which ethical questions arise.
      HW Assignment due Fri 1/19/18 by 5:00pm. (a) Give an example of ethics violation for parts I, II, III. (b) Describe your own (or someone else's) experience in which you feel the guidelines were not followed, or would not apply.

    3. 1/24/18: Meet the alumni: Tim Costa. (webex)

      Topic:What does doing research (in mathematics) mean? Is (most of) research (in mathematics) innovative or incremental?
      Discussion: based on and See also
      HW Assignment due Fri 1/26/18 by 5:00pm. Which core class would you take the further your understanding of at least three of Millenium problems. See, e.g., the fields described in Are the Millenium problems the most important in mathematics research?

    4. 1/31/18: Meet the alumni: Kirk McDermott.

      Topic: Mathematical writing and presentations. What does it mean to publish/present your research?
      Discussion: based on (A) and (B)
      HW Assignment due Fri 2/2/18 (a) Give one example from your own or someone else's recent presentation which belongs to (A). (b) Which category from (B) does the paper "H=W" belong to? (The paper will be sent in a separate email).

    5. 2/7/18: [Valley 2082 (Autzen classroom)]. Guest: Uta Hussong-Christian.

      Topic: Library resources for research in Mathematics. MathSciNet vs Google Scholar, Web of Science, and other search engines. What are the citations, whom to cite, and how.
      Activities: find the articles as directed by the librarian. Gauge interests/influence by citations.
      Example 1: an influential article which appeared in conference proceedings rather than peer-reviewed journal. Careful with author name!
      Example 2: a review article with a follow up 20 years later. Which one is more cited.
      Example 3: paper is hard to find in spite of easy-to-remember-title
      HW due Fri 2/9: Analyze the impact of the article "H-W" on MathSciNet and Google Scholar. Find articles citing it, one with smallest number of citations, and one with the largest number of citations. Should you cite the original or the other papers, or both?

    6. 2/14/18: Meet the alumni: Erica Rode.

      Topic: Choosing a topic/major professor.
      Discussion: Based on Chapter 7, "How to choose an adviser" from O'Leary's book. Also more general adviser-mentor seeking with pointers on what to do when you change your mind. Finally, read this lightly written article on "Care and Maintenance of Your Adviser" by Kearns and Gardiner, on styles of advising and adviser-advisee relationships.
      GD will present a list of faculty who expressed interest in advising.
      HW due May 25: Describe the activities you undertook when seeking a research area and seeking an adviser.

    7. 2/21/18: Guests: Juan Restrepo, Chris Larson

      Topic: Interdisciplinary opportunities, careers, and skills for non-academic careers

    8. 2/28/18: (Professors Beisiegel and Swisher)

      Topic: Video case studies

    9. 3/7/18: Guests: MATH ED Group

      Topic: Mathematics Ed Research and training.

    10. 3/14/18: Meet the alumni: Sooie-Hoe Loke.

      Guests: Enrique Thomann, Manny Hur.
      Topic: Actuarial and math finance careers.

  • Weekly Schedule (Spring):
    1. 4/4/18: (MP) Meet the alumni: Patricia Medina. New term advising.
    2. Topic: Introduction to responsible conduct of research and conflict of interest. Please read National Academy of Sciences: Responsible conduct of research. 1. Please read: Introduction. Treatment of data. Discovering an error. Mistakes and negligence.
      2. Recall how NSF defines CoI (Conflict of Interest) for its employees. (read just the first lines up to 5301.103 Outside employment abd activities.)
      HW due 4/13: please answer the following questions: (i) If a mathematician makes a mistake in the proof and publishes it, what should they do when they discover this mistake? (ii) If your colleague makes a mistake in their published work, what should you do? (iii) If you serve on some awards committee, and your brother in law is one of the nominees, what should you do? What if you chair this committee comprised of two people.
      Further materials to read (optional): Order of authorship, Publish or perish.

    3. 4/11/18: (MP, Koslicki, DeLeenheer) Opportunities in math bio
    4. 4/18/18: (HS) Teaching check
    5. 4/25/18: (MP) Meet the alumni: Duncan McGregor. Research presentations: Cozzi, Ossiander
    6. 5/2/18: (HS/MB) Transition from GTA to Instructor
    7. 5/9/18: (MP) Responsible conduct of research.

      Topic: Ethics in publishing. Read SIAM article from Read also "Nefarious numbers" (AMS Notices)
      Discussion: how to avoid plagiarism.
      HW due 5/11/18 Write a half-page ''paper" in which you prove a ``mock'' lemma based on some result from the paper "H=W". Do not include your name; we will use your solutions for class activity. Your solution should be typed, with proper symbols etc.

    8. 5/16/18: (MP) Responsible conduct of research. Case studies.

      Topic: Discovering an error. Research misconduct. Publishing. Reading:

      • (Marie and Yuan)
      • (Vijay)
      • (Peter)
      • (Andre)

      Activity: based on previous HW.
      HW due 5/18/18: provide answers to at least one question per section as above.

    9. 5/23/18: (MP & Robert Higdon & Eemerald Stacy & Sam Smith)

      Topic: Professional development; job search etc. Start now!
      Materials: provided by email.
      HW due 5/25/18: Describe the activities you undertook when seeking a research area and seeking an adviser.

    10. 5/30/18: (MP) Wrap-up advising.

    11. 6/6/18: (HS) Wrap-up the year.