Have you heard of Boris’s Law of Blogging? No? I also tried to stick to it from the beginning (although I do not know this guy named Boris) because wordpress does recommend a similar thing when you start a blog. Well, I did not always succeed to stick to it and now it’s almost three weeks since my last post. I thought about writing about advice to mathematicians at the beginning of their career. Don’t worry, I am not going to write about my own case, basically because it is not special and I do not have special advice to share. However, I benefited from advice by others and here is a short list:
- The great and unique book The Princeton Companion to Mathematics (also known as “Mathematics: A Very Long Introduction”) has this chapter Advice to a Young Mathematician in which several great
mathematicians share their wisdom and experiences.
- Once we are at it, there is this must-read page by Terry Tao: This page on his blog (and its outdated old version here) which also features great links.
- Moreover, I really enjoyed reading A mathematician’s survival guide by Pete Casazza (one advice I will certainly remember is “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.”). It also has great quotes like this one
Someone asked me once if I planned on doing mathematics my whole life. I gave the obvious answer: “Of course not. I plan on saving the last 10 minutes to reminisce.”
- Then, there is Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught by Gian-Carlo Rota (which contains the claim that “Every Mathematician Has Only a Few Tricks”) (There is probably only this part with which I don’t agree: “My late friend Stan Ulam used to remark that his life was sharply divided into two halves. In the first half, he was always the youngest person in the group; in the second half, he was always the oldest. There was no transitional period. I now realize how right he was.”Since a few years I am in the middle. But let’s see how I think about this several year from know…)
- Doron Zeilberger has a lot of opinions about mathematics but also Twenty Pieces of Advice for a Young (and also not so young) Mathematician.
- Finally, there were Bob’s 25 pointshere.
Edit: Some days after finishing this post I remembered another great advice. I hope that the author does not mind if I share. It’s from the Iserles rules of academic happiness and it is “It is always easier to apologize than to ask for permission.”