Interim report: “Being a Professional Mathematician”

Tony Mann, University of Greenwich, and Chris Good, University of Birmingham, have provided the following report for their project.

The project has made reasonable progress since the contract was agreed. The title of the project was changed from “The Culture of Being a Mathematician” to “Being a Professional Mathematician” at the request of the funder. The funder also requested that materials produced by the project should be released under a Creative Commons licence. The project team were happy with that suggestion but, since it was made after the contract was signed by the University of Greenwich, that required approval from the University. After some delay approval has now been granted.

Progress so far includes the following:

  • Adverts were placed in the newsletters of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the London Mathematical Society, and the Royal Statistical Society. A number of responses were obtained and a selection of interviewees has been identified.
  • Interview topics have been agreed by the team and the first two interviews were carried out at the end of January 2012. Further interviews are scheduled for February and March. The wording of the release form has still to be finalised, because of the delay in gaining the University’s approval for the use of a Creative Commons licence, but the two people already interviewed understand the situation and have agreed to sign the release form when it is available.
  • Material on “What jokes tell us about being a professional mathematician” was trialled in class at the University of Greenwich in November 2011 and the resources used will be refined for the project.
  • A workshop to disseminate the work of the project has been arranged for Tuesday 15 May 2012 at the University of Greenwich.

The project is on course for completion by the end of May 2012.

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