Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions not answered below, or are interested in giving a talk just email Roberto Barrera to set up a time.

(1) What Kinds of Talks are Given at the Graduate Student Seminar?

The talks may cover any area of mathematics or a closely related field, such as computer science. They are supposed to be lively and stimulating. Consequently, they will be relatively short (50 minutes maximum, and speakers should not feel obligated to use the whole time) and not overly technical. They should be pitched at an audience of educated non-specialists who are interested in getting a feel for your area of mathematics.

It's possible that you already have a prepared talk lying around! Examples of acceptable talks are master's thesis presentations, condensed (i.e. without technical details) doctoral thesis presentations, lecture notes containing an interesting result, notes on a paper you read, or job talks you're going to be giving elsewhere. Above all, make sure that what you present will be interesting and accessable to somebody who isn't familiar with the area.

(2) Who May Present a Talk?

Any member of the math department and any informed visitor may present a talk. Members of other departments in related fields (e.g. computer science, economics, statistics, etc) will also be considered. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but priority will be given to math graduate students. Talks are also strongly encouraged from faculty interested in serving as advisors.

(3) Why Should I Give a Talk?

As a professional mathematician, you are likely to spend a significant part of your career talking about what you do, very often to non-specialists. The Graduate Student Seminar is a great place to practice these skills before a sympathetic audience. Frequent practice makes delivery before a more critical audience (e.g. a conference, your committee, etc) a less stressful experience. Additionally, presenting a talk will demonstrate your aptitude and energy before your peers and potential advisors/committee members. If you are a foreign student, this is an opportunity to practice both your mathematics and your English skills.

(4) Why Should I Attend the Talks?

First of all, the talks are intended to be informative, but more interesting and fast-paced than classroom lectures. They'll be fun. Secondly, the seminars can help you find an area of mathematics you'd like to go into, if you haven't made up your mind yet. Thirdly, it's in your professional interest to engage your fellow graduate students in a professional setting outside the classroom, and the Graduate Student Seminar gives you that opportunity. Finally, there will be refreshments.