The Graduate Seminar Series
The Graduate Seminars are given by students to students. They provides the opportunity for graduates to gain confidence by practicing giving oral presentations in an informal setting. Another aim of the seminars is to introduce students from varying research areas to interesting mathematical topics they would otherwise have not come across. This lays the foundations for collaborative work and takes the form of lighthearted introductory seminars and mini-lecture series.
The timetable for the present year will be given below as the seminars are arranged.
This Term's Seminars
What Are Grad Seminars?
Well, as stated above the Grad Seminars are an informal set of seminars given by and for graduate students.
But what are they for?
By attending Grad Seminars you get to hear about some interesting maths with your peers, and also get a bit more social with your fellow graudate students.
By giving a Grad Seminar you get to practice your presentation skills in front of a nice friendly audience. You can get constructive criticism if you want, or just lap up the applause at the end.
Alright, I'll come. When are they?
The timetable for the coming seminars is at the top of the page, but they should be going every couple of weeks or so during term time. Of course, we always need speakers, so...
Yes, I get the hint. How do I sign up to give a Grad Seminar?
What can it be about?
It can be about anything you like! Make sure it's something you're interested in, and that you think others can understand. Consider talking about something you find interesting, but don't necessarily deal with day-to-day. Oh, and it's okay to talk about things you don't quite understand -- it's actually better, because you get some practice researching interesting stuff and then presenting something you haven't polished to death!
You can of course talk about your research, but remember that people in the audience may work in a completely different area and might not be familiar with the kind of mathematics you do, so you cannot give the same kind of talk that you would at your own research group's seminar for example.
How technical should the talk be?
Its up to you how detailed to make your talk, but as mentioned above the audience will consist of people with very varied interests and knowledge (potentially almost any area of maths / mathematical physics!). A good guide might be to assume no more (and perhaps no less) than undergraduate mathematics. Have a look at the articles by Halmos and McCarthy mentioned below for some good pointers on this.
How about some suggestions?
Alright then, here are a few. Try looking at the Notices of the AMS for inspiration -- they often run features on topical maths and mathematicians, as well as introductions to certain topics, like their 'What Is ...' section. If you want more information on the history of mathematics or mathematicians, try MacTutor, which has loads of information on it. And if you're really keen to give a seminar but you've got no idea what topic to do it on, then why not see if your fellow students have any topics they'd be interested in hearing about.
What if it won't fit in one seminar?
We've done seminar series in the past and they've worked quite well, if you think you've got enough material for a few sessions. My advice is, if it's too long you can probably cut something out, but don't try to cram it all in one session if you really want to cover it all -- spread it out, and we'll all enjoy it more.
What if I make a mistake?
Who doesn't? Really, the best thing about Grad Seminars is that there's only us in there, and we all know what it's like to stand at the board and realise something's gone wrong. Relax, don't panic, and remember these people will be buying you beers afterwards anyway.
Some advice on giving talks
There is a very nice article by Halmos on how to give a talk to a general mathematical audience:
The following by John McCarthy is also excellent:
Both of these have lots of good tips and are well worth reading!
For a list of past seminars, see:
Department of Mathematics, University of York, Heslington, York, UK. YO10 5DD