Yesterday, the question Do I Really Love Maths? was asked and put on hold as primarily opinion based. While I agree the question should be closed for the reasons given, I think more broad questions could be asked that can obtain some answers that are more appropriate to the site. The topic (from both a student and instructor point of view) of 'deciding on math as a career' should be addressed in some form of questions.

Some questions that I think would address it:

  • What does a career for mathematicians as/in academics/teachers/industry/etc look like at an early/middle/late stage?
  • What are common misconceptions for a mathematics career?
    • The author in "Do I really love Maths?" noted a need to be able to study math in their free time instead of wanting to do sports or gaming.

Such questions might help people considering mathematics as a career make informed decisions.

Do we want to go more into these topics as they borderline education in an adviser's position or should we delegate them to, say, academia.SE?

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    $\begingroup$ The questions you posed are about careers for mathematicians - I agree with your later comment about "delegating" them to academia.SE. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminDickman I'm a little concerned that the current focus isn't enough to maintain a good question base. But I would say it is borderline with the goals of the site in addition to those of both MO academia. For instance, there is this discussion on MO.meta where some topics might be addressed in both forums: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2155/… $\endgroup$
    – Chris C
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 23:58

1 Answer 1


I think it would be a great question for the site, if well phrased. I like the ways you've posed it.

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    $\begingroup$ There is the risk of questions like this "unfocussing" the forum, and resulting in the forum trying to deal with everything touching on Math Education. I recommend maintaining a sharper focus, at least until the forum is out of beta. Although the deterioration of USENET sci.math happened primarily because of lack of moderation, I see the above question as another potential cause, a type of something to be carefully considered for inclusion. Too much of this type too early will cause problems for the forum, in my not so humble opinion. Gerhard "Don't Go The Sci.Math Path" Paseman, 2015.03.20 $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 1:39

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