## » LinkedIn Group for Mathematicians #

*Paul R. Brown*@ 2008-11-24

I can understand that some might find a bit of irony in a social network for mathematicians, but I created a LinkedIn group for "current and former mathematicians" late last week.

Mathematicians, where my working definition is people who have significant formal training in the form of a Ph.D. or A.B.D. in mathematics or a similar field like theoretical physics or computer science, usually start out with a very narrow career trajectory — academia. Graduate mathematics programs have the job of preparing students to be researchers. There is barely an acknowledgment of alternatives, but the realities of the economy and academic job market will continue to draw (or drive) mathematicians to other fields. (Programs like MISI at UIC, with which I was involved when I was on the faculty at UIC, are a notable exception.)

The reality is that there is no irony. The mathematicians that I know are equally distributed and successful across academia, industrial applications (e.g., quantitative finance, marketing analysis, etc.), and entrepreneurship; but formal training in mathematics isn't one of the axes that LinkedIn or other social networks support for search or networking. I hope that the group is a combination of:

- a support structure for mathematicians of any age pursuing or just considering non-academic career tracks or even just extra-curricular consulting;
- a place to share interesting problems and opportunities;
- a virtual tea time, which I miss.