Setting goals as a mathematician

The Intrepid Mathematician

I finished my eighth half marathon last weekend. Since I started running in 2004, I finished six marathons and several 10k and 5k races. I enjoy running longer distances. Although I’m not a competitive runner, I am proud of my running achievements.

Running gives me time to think. Mathematical proofs have popped into my head during training runs. Beyond that, running a long distance like a half or full marathon is a goal. A hard, but realistic goal that is feasible with the appropriate training.

Cu5xE6AW8AAZuFe.jpg Souvenirs of a hard run 21.1 K.

Goals form a critical part of every successful mathematician’s tool chest. They provide us a path forward, and without them, we lack direction. One of the things I have noticed with newly graduated doctoral students is that they often experience post-PhD limbo: there are no more formal expectations from their University or supervisor. Post-docs or fresh Assistant Professors either start…

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martin56jones

"The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's, must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. " G H Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).

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