**Tests of Convergence and Divergence for Series:**students do not usually like this important section of Calculus II curriculum because when they go to the exam, they get confused with two or more tests due to the similarity between some tests. As a result, they do not do well in exams and eventually in the course itself. Therefore, I decided to help them all by creating a table that contains all tests together, and I also added a “notes” section so they understand my notes and comments about each test. This table is available on my course webpage. Here is a sample of my table:

**Absolutely and Conditionally Convergent Series:**students usually consider deciding whether series is absolutely convergent or conditionally convergent is one of the most difficult things in Calculus II. However, I created for them a table, and I called it “Binary Method for Alternating Series Test”. The name of this method stems from the fact that binary numbers are 0 0, 0 1, 1 0, and 11, and they represent divergence-divergence, divergence-convergence, convergence-divergence, and convergence-convergence, respectively. This table is available on my course webpage. The following is the Binary Method for Alternating Series Test table:

In conclusion, I also believe that students must engage with this learning environment during class discussions by asking challenging questions that make us both (teacher and student) think about these questions. For example, when I create a handout for my Calculus II students, I usually like to include one challenging question and ask my students to think about it. Then, we can start the class discussions about that challenging question. A perfect example of one of my challenging questions in Calculus II is the following:

To see more examples like this and other handy methods, please see my course webpage. Best of luck and feel free to reach out if you have questions!

**References**

Kaabar, M. K. A. (2012). __Mohammed Kaabar Website__, Available at http://www.mohammed-kaabar.net

As a fourth-year grad student in math at the University of Minnesota, I spend a lot of time thinking about math problems, but I get worn out when I think about the same problem for too long. Sometimes it can be helpful to take a break and work on something more fun, such as…other math problems. Easier problems. Problems you know how to do. Doing this can feel like you are procrastinating and accomplishing something at the same time. In my first post here I want to tell you about a great resource for endless math problems of every sort of difficulty: Math Stack Exchange.

This website has the added benefit that in return for your hard work spent answering math problems (i.e. procrastination), you receive “reputation points.” The more points you get the smarter you feel, even if you could have spent that time on your own research.

The Stack Exchange website is a child of Stack Overflow, a site created in 2008 as a forum for professional programmers to request and share answers to the many questions they come across while coding. The best answers are voted up and move higher in the list of answers so you can easily find them. Poor answers and questions that are off topic are voted down so they won’t have a negative impact on the forum. The site is somewhat like Yahoo Answers, except users will say intelligent things. If someone writes a nice solution and you vote it up, they will be awarded more reputation points. As it turns out, fake points on the internet are a huge motivator. Hundreds of people are waiting at all hours of the day, hoping they know the answer to your question. Hardly ever am I faced with a coding problem that hasn’t been answered already on Stack Overflow.

There are at least 150 communities with their own Stack Exchange sites. If you want to know why coffee is comforting or if your bougainvillea is turning into a magic beanstalk, there’s an answer on Stack Exchange. If you want a user named Lord Voldemort to tell you why wizards need wands, you can find that, too.

Math Stack Exchange (Math.SE) is a forum for any sort of math question. There is a similar site called Math Overflow for questions related to open research problems, but on Math.SE any question is fair game, as long as you have put in some effort to figure it out yourself. If you are looking for an endless feed of calculus questions, this is the website for you. The first question I answered on Math.SE was related to circle maps, which is something I’m currently studying. Often in math it can feel like few people care about the highly specific abstract problems you are solving. However, there might be people out there who do, and there’s a good possibility they are on Stack Exchange. Some of them might even need your help; they will be sure give you fake points in return.

]]>In college, I asked many other students to clarify why they don’t like math. I got two answers over and over again- it’s boring, and it’s too hard. The chain rule and the shell method of integration do not strike them as relevant to their future careers or to their broader understanding of the world around them. Moreover, they have been told from a young age that math is too hard, so why bother trying?

As mathematicians, we appreciate beautiful math for its own sake and do not question that a theorem’s truth accords it value. If we incorrectly assume that our friends and our students automatically share this appreciation for mathematical truth and elegance, however, we miss the opportunity to reintroduce them to math in a way that challenges their views on it.

What got you interested in math in the first place? For me, an important part was questions that have surprising answers, questions that make me think differently and re-examine the world around me. A simple but incredible example of such a question is the famous birthday problem. Given 20 people in a room, what is the probability that at least two have the same birthday? Intuitively, most people would think the probability is fairly low. Ignoring leap years for simplicity, there are 365 days in a year, so 20 people seems like a very small number comparatively; it should be pretty unlikely for 2 to have the same birthday.

As you probably know, an easy way to actually calculate the probability is to compute the probability that no two people have the same birthday, and subtract it from one. Take the first person in the room- let’s say it’s me. My birthday is August 18th, so we can rule out August 18th for everybody else. Then consider the second person in the room; we must have different birthdays, so he can have a birthday on any of the remaining 364 days, which happens with probability 364/365. Say his birthday is September 26th. Now take the third person; she can have a birthday on any of the remaining 363 days, which occurs with probability 363/365, and so it continues. We multiply each of these probabilities to get our answer for the probability that no two students have the same birthday: ∏ (365-i)/365, from i=1 to i=19. Call this probability A; then, the probability we want is then 1-A. I (okay, Wolfram Alpha) computed this as about 0.411438.

Who would have guessed? With only 20 people there’s a 2/5 chance that a pair of them have the same birthday out of 365 possible birthdays! This seemingly paradoxical answer is mathematically satisfying, but also reveals some interesting ideas about how we think (Stamp, Mark. *Information Security: Principles and Practice.* Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey, 2011). Why are our first guesses so far from the truth?

My first instinct, a common one, is to think about the probability that somebody else has the same birthday as I do. That’s 1/365 * 19, about a 5% chance. The less obvious but far more important question is: do any of the people in the room share a birthday with each other, that may not be August 18th? When we consider that, we open not just 19 comparisons but 20 choose 2, or 190 comparisons. In that light, it seems far more likely that we could get a match; now 41% sounds quite reasonable.

The birthday problem is a fairly straightforward math exercise. However, the seemingly paradoxical answer to it highlights our nature to think selfishly, to insert ourselves into every comparison even though we should mostly be considering pairs of other people that do not contain ourselves. A counting problem concerning days of the year may be difficult, but it is far more approachable than taking anti-derivatives of complicated functions. And considering the selfish nature of human beings, and how it manifests itself in our attempts at problem solving, can hardly be called boring or worthless. If we can present math and statistics in a framework like this, we can engage far more students. Math is surprising and amazing sometimes, and while elegant proofs have merit, so do tricky and surprising problems. Both perspectives on math were central for developing my excitement about the field, and have motivated me to pursue a graduate degree in statistics.So here I am, and for everybody with wisdom to share about qualifying exams, choosing an advisor, and getting that NSF GRFP, I’ll be reading.

]]>Thanksgiving is this week and the holidays are right around the corner, which means most of us will be getting several weeks off from formal grad school requirements. But the time off is good for much more than just plentiful eating, quality family time, and Netflix binge-watching (a verb which, if you missed it, was recently added to the dictionary). A fun holiday activity to add to the list: a **math** **staycation**! (Shockingly enough, this marvelous term [according to Google] is not yet in use.)

**A math staycation consists of remotely (in space and/or time) attending a math conference by watching the video lectures from the convenience of wherever you might find yourself during the holidays**.

After deciding that this sounds like the most exciting use of your holiday time that you ever could have imagined, the first step toward planning your math staycation is choosing the math conference that you want to follow. The quantity, quality, and variety of recorded conferences has skyrocketed in the last decade, and you will likely have many more good candidate workshops than time allows.

There are two main styles of math staycation:

- video combo plate (custom-build a playlist of math video lectures/recorded seminars that are of interest to you, even if they originate from different conferences) and
- traditional conference entrée (watch an entire conference more or less in its entirety and in the original order).

**Search for your math staycation materials** using Google or begin with the extensive lists I’ve gathered for you below:

- MSRI in Berkeley, CA has been recording their workshops and summer schools for over a decade now, and the lectures feature world-class mathematicians speaking on an incredible multitude of topics. The above link is the official MSRI video page, but you may want to narrow your search by instead searching Google for “MSRI” followed by the main keywords in your field.
- Banff International Research Station records the video lectures of their exclusive (invitation-only) math research weeks which take place tucked away in the mountains of Canada.
- The Fields Institute in Toronto boasts an impressive archive of recorded conference lectures, and some of the videos feature a useful interactive zoom and pan capability so you get to control which part of the board or slide that you see.
- The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has quite the extensive archive of video lectures in mathematics (in addition to other subjects studied at the IAS). Their archive is particularly useful for the “combo plate” approach of the math staycation. (Note the useful search bar in the upper-right corner of the page.)
- (Suggested by commenter) The CIRM in Marseilles, France hosts an AV library of recorded math talks from their research center (and here the videos are conveniently sorted by subject area) and also has a YouTube channel called CIRMChannel with interviews in addition to the lectures. The lectures and a fair number of the interviews are in English.
- A growing number of math departments at universities across the country and around the globe offer their own pages of recorded math talks, e.g. this page by Stony Brook’s math department.

Next, you will want to **plan your math staycation** (to ensure it actually happens). Set aside about a week of time for your staycation. Schedule your staycation for a quieter portion of your holiday season, e.g. after the New Year if that is when you might have a bit more uninterrupted time to yourself. Mark it in your calendar to help make it psychologically “official” that you are “attending” the conference. If you also want more guidance on the day-to-day schedule of your math staycation, feel free to use as a guide the posted program on the corresponding conference site or that of a similar conference.

**If you thrive with accountability**, you can use these last remaining weeks of the semester to find one or two graduate students in your area of interest who might want to embark on a math staycation with you; your group could maintain an email chain throughout the math staycation to help everyone stay connected and engaged. You could even choose students outside your field and mutually commit to presenting what you learned from the math staycation to one another over lunch soon after the holidays are over. Alternatively, you can sign yourself up to give a talk next semester through one of the graduate student seminar series at your department in order to give yourself a focused goal during your math staycation.

Are there other great web pages of archived math conference videos that you would recommend? Have you chosen your math staycation? Leave a comment below!

I hope you enjoy your math staycation, and come back after break to let us know how it all went!

]]>In a recent descent into a web-browsing shame spiral, I discovered a simple piece of advice on the Chronicle Forums:

Apply for the dang job!

The number and variety of postings on MathJobs makes it easy to be overtaken by doubt. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Will people like me? It may be comforting to sift through fifteen browser tabs for the answers to these questions, but instead go apply for some jobs! Remember that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (Gretzky/Scott).

And if you’re done applying for jobs, consider some of these tips to keep busy for these next few stressful weeks of waiting.

If you have any social media accounts, you may want to double check their privacy settings. I recently realized that many of my old Facebook posts were publicly available. I hadn’t posted anything particularly incriminating, but I also didn’t expect potential employers to have access to those comments. I followed these steps from Gizmodo to lock down old posts.

At tea a few weeks ago, a fellow job seeker mentioned a a cold calling technique I hadn’t previously considered. For those jobs for which you’re particularly interested, write a short note saying as much. Do your research in order to direct the message to the correct person. I would imagine that the head of the search committee is probably the last person who wants to hear from applicants outside of the approved channels. Instead, look for any personal or research connections to the faculty; try to warm up that cold call. The person who suggested this tactic said that it netted them a handful of speaking invitations.

To lessen the job search anxiety, try to have some well-defined research tasks scheduled. I find collaboration the easiest way to stay on track. I currently have a weekly Skype meeting with my advisor’s previous student, as well as an email conversation with another. I would be much less productive without this correspondence. Moreover, the Skype discussion doubles as a mentoring session as the other person has a tenure-track position and shares timely advice about the hiring process. If you don’t have any collaborators, find some! The blog post Building Your Research Army contains links to many programs which support small groups of researchers. And don’t forget to make the most of the Joint Meetings by emailing researchers closely “related” to you. Suggest a meeting to discuss potential projects (which you should have just written about for your research statement).

My next suggestion is to prepare your job talk. Once the interviews start rolling in, you will find yourself visiting a new campus, giving a talk in front of a very important audience (in terms of your future employment). The AMS Sectional Meetings provide a proving ground for you to test your presentation skills. I wasn’t aware that there are two levels of talks: special sessions and contributed talks. You should submit for a 20 minute talk in a special session, but you will be considered for a 10 minute contributed talk if the session is full. Ideally, you would attend the Sectional Meeting in the region to which you’re applying for jobs, though this may not be possible. Giving a talk is a great way to get invited to give more talks, which is a great way to get your job application on the top of the stack.

There’s plenty of job talk advice floating around, so I will only link to this article and another, in addition to this essay of Paul Halmos. Ok and this excellent slide deck of advice. Remember to practice early and often. You may gather all of the soon-to-be graduates in your department for a “Job Talk Seminar”. Invite everyone to view the talks and distribute a grading rubric so attendees may provide anonymous feedback to the speaker.

Finally, you need to prepare for upcoming screening interviews, both over the phone/Skype and at the Joint Meetings. There are a number of questions you can expect to be asked (see here and here), so open up a new notebook and start writing down answers. Of course you don’t want to sound robotically rehearsed, but it’s not a bad idea to think of yourself as a campaigning for an election versus applying for a job. I actually already had a phone interview and was asked to explain my research to a non-math person in twenty seconds or less. Twenty seconds! I had prepared a 2-3 minute explanation and was able to condense it down, but it would have been disastrous had I not prepared anything at all! Afterwards, I immediately recorded a debrief in my notebook to help improve my responses. If, like me, you haven’t had a phone interview recently, let me remind you how grueling they can be. Especially panel-type interviews where the interviewees are situated around a conference table dishing out questions. But stay positive and remember that if you made it this far, you’re hirable on paper!

]]>Not every math PhD program has preliminary exams (aka written qualifiers) and/or master’s exams. But for the programs that do, these exams can seem daunting to first and second year students. Both prelims and master’s exams are long in duration (varies by program, but around 3 hours from my knowledge) and span the topics of multiple courses. They require endurance, mental agility, and a thorough understanding of the test topics.

Prior to grad school, I did not have experience with exams of this nature. Of course I had experience taking 3 hour final exams for a single course, but I had no experience with preparing for an equally long exam that tests my mastery in multiple graduate-level courses. I sought preparation advice from more experienced graduate students and professors and also learned through trial and error. Here are some tips that I’ve found effective in preparing for these types of exams.

**1.) Make a study plan several weeks (if not more) prior to your exam date. **Include topics you need to review on which days. Check off the days as you complete the study assignments as this will help to motivate you and build a sense of accomplishment. A long-term plan like this will guide you through a steady and thorough review of the material, ensuring that you do not resort to cramming at the last minute.

**2.) Prioritize prelim/master’s exam courses as you take them. **Don’t take shortcuts in these courses as your success on the prelims and master’s exams depend on a deep understanding of these topics. Stay organized in these courses and make an effort to take excellent notes so you can study from them when preparing for your exam.

**3.) Schedule full-length, timed practice exams. **This is a particularly useful tip for those who are not naturally great test takers. Schedule mock exams for yourself in the exam setting. For example, if your exam is 3 hours long in a quiet room, schedule a 3 hour block where you will go to a quiet room and do a full length practice exam (without your notes!). This will get you comfortable with the exam setting. The practice under timed pressure will also train you to think on your feet, which you’ll need on the exam.

**4.) Find a study group to meet with regularly at least several weeks prior to the exam. **Studying math with a group of classmates is always fun and it has many benefits for prelim/master’s exam preparation. Discussing concepts with a study group can help you to absorb concepts more deeply. Talking out loud about your understanding can also highlight weak areas in your understanding; it is better to determine your weak areas of knowledge sooner rather than later. You can also use this as an opportunity to learn from others – perhaps a classmate is strong where you are weak and vice versa. Solving new practice problems together also gives you practice with thinking on your feet but in a stress-free setting.

**5.) Complete all learning of exam topics at least a couple of weeks before the exam. **This means that, ideally, two weeks prior to the exam, you should not be learning a required concept or topic for the first time. The two weeks prior to the exam should be reserved for practice and review. This two week period of reinforcement and practice will help to solidify the concepts in your brain, releasing your potential for mental agility on test day.

I hope you find some of this tips helpful! Please feel free to add to these tips by commenting below. It would be interesting to see what approaches others have found effective in preparing for these types of exams.

]]>Congratulations to Ian Agol for being awarded the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, the so-called, “Oscars of Science” and mathematics [1]! Tech entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner created the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics in 2014 to, “Reward[s] significant discoveries across the many branches of the subject.” The prize carries a 3 million dollar award, and was announced during a live televised red carpet ceremony complete with celebrities like Kate Hudson, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera.

Agol is a topologist with much of his work focusing on the topology of three manifolds. In addition to many of other contributions Agol, together with Daniel Groves and Jason Manning, proved the Virtual Haken Conjecture [2]. I am no expert in low dimensional topology, yet alone the Virtual Haken Conjecture, and I will just point people to Quanta’s very nice article giving a non-technical overview. Danny Calegari also has an excellent series of blog posts getting into the more technical aspects of Agol’s work.

In addition to Agol, Larry Guth and André Arroja Neves were awarded the New Horizon in Mathematics Prize. This prize, also funded by Zuckerberg and Milner, recognizes, “Junior researchers in the field of mathematics who have already produced important work.” In perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the evening Peter Scholze turned down the New Horizons prize, according to Michael Harris and The Guardian [2]. Congratulations to all those recognized tonight!

Citations:

[1] – Seth MacFarlane, “Breakthrough Prize Monologue.”

[2] – Ian Sample, “Academics land £2m prizes at Zuckerberg-backed ‘science Oscars’.” The Guardian.

]]>**The Cover Method:**Many of my students struggle with partial fractions because of the complexity of the equations they have to solve. I decided to help them by introducing a new method called the cover method, which can solve about half of the partial fraction decomposition problems:

**The Table Method:**Integration by parts is considered one of the difficult topics for students of Calculus II because some students either do not memorize the standard form of integration by parts or they do not know how to derive it. To make it easy for my students, I decided to introduce a method called the table method. This method does not require memorization, and it can solve integration by parts problems faster than the traditional method. However, it only works for some integration by parts problems such as ones involving polynomials, exponential functions, and trigonometric functions. The example below is from my textbook*A Friendly Introduction to Differential Equations*

To see more examples like this and other handy techniques, please see my textbook. Best of luck and feel free to reach out if you have questions!

**References**

Kaabar, M. K. A. (2015). __A Friendly Introduction to Differential Equations__, Printed by CreateSpace, San Bernardino, CA. Available at http://www.mohammed-kaabar.net/#!differential-equations-book/cuvt.

I’ll begin with a classic:

THE HATS PROBLEM

Ten mathematicians are captured by a madman and are imprisoned in a cell. The madman tells them that tomorrow, they must play a (possibly fatal) game. The game proceeds as follows:

The ten mathematicians stand in a line, one behind the other, all facing the same direction. The madman places a single black or white hat on each person’s head. The line is so arranged that each person can see everyone in front of him or her (as well as their hat colors) but cannot turn around and cannot see their own hat. Starting from the back of the line (i.e., the person who can see nine people) and proceeding to the front, the madman gives each mathematician the opportunity to say either “black” or “white”. If the spoken color matches the color of hat on their head, then that mathematician goes free; otherwise, he or she is immediately executed.

To heighten the suspense, the madman declares that everyone will be able to hear the “black” or “white” choices (as well as if the person in question lives or dies). The question is: how can the mathematicians devise a strategy to guarantee the safety of some or most of their group?

For example, the mathematicians could pair up into five groups of two: the 10th and 9th places in line, the 8th and 7th places, and so on, with the rearmost person in each pair saying the color of the hat in front of him. The frontmost person in each pair then knows their hat color and can say it in order to go free. With this strategy, five people are guaranteed to live. Can you do better?

Now, another problem:

A DICE PROBLEM

A hundred computer scientists are playing a game. (They are computer scientists because I heard this riddle at a computer science conference dinner.) Each person simultaneously rolls a regular six-sided die. The participants are sitting in a circle in such a way so that each of them cannot see their own die roll, but can see the rolls of all ninety-nine of their co-workers. After all the dice rolls, each of the hundred people writes down a number from one through six. The participants may choose their number based on the dice rolls of everyone else, but are not allowed to communicate in any way or to see what the others are writing.

The hundred numbers are then simultaneously examined. The group wins if every person correctly guessed the number of his or her own die; if even one person writes down a number that does not mach their die roll, the group loses. Can the group devise a strategy which gives them a decent shot at winning?

At first glance it might seem that the group can’t do better than guessing randomly (after all, seeing everyone else’s dice rolls doesn’t help with guessing your own). To convince you that the all-random strategy can be beaten, let’s take a simpler version of the game with only two people, in which guessing randomly evidently gives a (1/6)^2 = 1/36 chance of winning. Consider, however, the following perverse strategy: each participant writes down the die roll of the *other* person. Since this strategy wins exactly when the two dice rolls are the same, we now have a 1/6 chance of winning the game!

This two-person strategy isn’t the one that generalizes the most easily to the 100-person game. Can you find – with proof! – an optimal strategy in the general case?

Finally, my favorite:

THE FIVE-CARD TRICK

You and your friend are attempting to work out how to perform a magic trick. The setup of the trick is as follows: you (the assistant) will be given five cards, randomly selected from a standard deck of 52 cards. Initially, your friend (the magician) is not allowed to see any of the five cards. You are allowed to select any four of the cards in your hand and lay them down on the table, in any order you choose. (That is, you remove four of the five cards in your hand and show them, one after one, to your friend.) Your friend is then supposed to (“magically”) guess the remaining fifth card. How can you devise a communication strategy by which your friend can always guess correctly?

For example, one way to approach the problem might be to agree on an ordering of the 52 cards beforehand. Then showing your friend a sequence of four cards is the same as communicating a permutation of (1, 2, 3, 4) (simply by mapping the lowest of the four cards to 1, the second lowest to 2, and so on). Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be enough information, because there are 24 such permutations and 48 possibilities for the fifth card! (Your friend knows the fifth card is not any of the four cards already shown, giving the number 52 – 4 = 48.) What to do?

Hint: you can get the solution started by observing that there are five cards but four suits, and thus two cards of the same suit. Since you (the assistant) can choose which card is the fifth card, you can choose one of these two as the fifth card and use the other card to communicate the suit.

]]>**Monotonically decreasing funding availability**: As a general rule (with the exception of occasional opportunities which suddenly crop up), funding availability for summer math activities decreases monotonically from here on out. A good number of summer funding deadlines are in December and January (and some even earlier), so browsing for conferences and workshops now can help protect you from missing the perfect one.**Visualizing the large-scale structure of your summer**: Your summer schedule probably has a lot of moving parts which might include teaching, research, visiting family and friends, conference and workshop travel, and (maybe) even some relaxing. Now is the time to start thinking about your summer goals and priorities and figuring out how the major blocks of time will fit together. You may still have several overlapping possibilities, and some of these time conflicts may not get settled until last-minute administrative or funding decisions are made, but visualizing your summer options now on a month-by-month desk calendar or on Google Calendar can be very helpful. And then when that email arrives from your university asking who is interested in which summer teaching assignments, you’ll be ready to hit reply immediately with a well-informed decision so you can be first in line for your top choice!

Even if you are not ready to present any original results, attending math conferences over the summer can be a great opportunity to meet leaders in your field and to get inspired by hearing about the latest developments. Alternatively, summer schools and workshops are often geared towards graduate students and can be an efficient and fun way to learn new technical skills. Below are some tricks for finding the workshops, conferences, and summer schools that are best for you.

**AMS Mathematics Calendar**: Perhaps the most comprehensive compilation of math conference titles, dates and links anywhere on the web is found on the website of the American Mathematical Society on the Mathematics Calendar page. It is a fantastic place to start browsing through upcoming possibilities with the least amount of effort. (And it’s fascinating to see how far in advance some conferences are planned!) There is also an analogous list provided by the European Mathematical Society.**Google**: With so many conference organizers depending on word of mouth to announce their conferences, some conference websites stay hidden in the dustiest and most obscure corners of cyberspace, seen only by visitors with direct links. But armed with your expert googling abilities and some patience and care, you can find some real gems. Be ready to do up to a few dozen searches with slight variations of keywords; include perhaps only one specific math subject or term at a time, along with any subset of {graduate, math, summer, 2016, workshop, conference, funding}. You can also try adding in specific locations, names, or universities if you want to further narrow things down. Also try some searches where you leave out “2016”; this will cause you to get more outdated workshop pages in your results, but sometimes the workshops you find are annual and you can find the most recent workshop page either by deleting part of the URL or trying a more targeted Google search with keywords specific to that event. You can also send an email to the listed organizer of a past conference that you would have loved to attend, and politely ask them if they know of any comparable upcoming events this summer.**Word of mouth**: A targeted and effective approach for combing through the first list of options you may have built from steps one and two above (and for adding events you may have missed) is by simply asking professors and grad students at your department. Stop by your department’s tea time this week and ask others (both in your field and not) about conferences and workshops they have attended or organized in the past or what they are looking forward to for this summer. Even if some people can’t think of anything at that moment, they may think of you the next time they get a conference email, and they might forward it to you. Another idea is to roam the halls of your department looking for relevant conference posters on professors’ doors and to ask the corresponding professors about the posters that seem particularly interesting to you (even if they happened in the past). Also be sure to visit the bulletin boards where math event announcements are hung up in your department.**Sign up for relevant email lists**: If you sign up for the right email lists for your math interests, you will find that conference and workshop invitations will begin to land effortlessly in your email inbox without any advanced googling. You will, however, actually need to open and read your emails for this technique to work. Here is an excellent list of math-related listservs to get you started. The idea is to sign up for as few of the most relevant lists as possible, so choose carefully! You might also want to ask the organizers of your favorite weekly seminars at your department to add you to their internal list, as conference announcements are sometimes circulated that way. You may also enjoy signing up for newsletters and announcements from a few major math institutes, e.g. this mailing list for the Fields Institute, in order to get early information of upcoming programs.

What are you favorite summer math events, conferences, or workshops that you have attended in the past or are looking forward to attending in the future? Have you found any great online lists of conferences that you would like to share? Do you have any tips or questions on how to build the ideal mathematical summer? Leave a comment below!

]]>