Nescio in Brief: September 2009

Nescio in Brief, September 2009

By Kareem Carr

Professor Nomen Nescio is a sort of ‘Dear Abby’ of the Notices of the AMS, dispensing useful advice to people either in or close to the graduate student stage of their career. I have decided that it might be helpful to summarize some of the advice here for the convenience of readers of the blog. The questions and the answers have been shortened or paraphrased from the originals. There will typically be more information in the original article.

Question: “I began a tenure-track position about 1.5 years ago. I will soon be coming up for reappointment.” How many papers should I have published?

Answer: It depends on the department. But, “two good papers … provided the other aspects of your professional life are acceptable”.

Question: “I am in my first year of a post-doc at a large university … Is there anything I can do to make my teaching load better for next year?

Answer: “Talk to your mentor at this department” and the chair. Also, fill out the teaching request form if there is one.

Question: “I am studying for my preliminary exam. When looking at old exams, I’m struck by how easy they are some years and how difficult they are other years … I’m worried about the seeming randomness of the difficulty … ”

Answer: “Study hard. Prepare for the worst.”

Question: “I submitted a paper eleven months ago but still have not heard whether or not it has been accepted … Is it reasonable for me to contact the editor.”

Answer: “Write the editor a polite letter giving the details needed to easily locate the paper.”

To read the original article, click here.

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0 Responses to Nescio in Brief: September 2009

  1. Mark Crafton says:

    Because these questions are supposedly coming from college educated people, mathematics graduate students, it does not seem necessary to have a printed column in the Notices devoted to such often silly questions.