Lecturer – Maths
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The modern-day mathematician just doesn’t add up to the geeky guy with thick-rimmed glasses, according to mathematics lecturer Dr Chris Tisdell. When Tisdell isn’t formulating equations, he’s spinning records as a DJ and producing music.
“When I say I am a lecturer or a mathematician to people, firstly they don’t really know what that means and, secondly, a lot of people grimace,” Tisdell says.
“Doing what I do is very similar to any job; you need ideas and you need to be innovative, professional and hard-working. It is not as far removed from any other profession as people think.”
Tisdell lectures at the University of NSW, teaching mathematics to students across a variety of disciplines including industrial design, engineering, environmental engineering, life sciences and biology. It allows him a lot of freedom.
“You work on what you find interesting and the hours are good, too,” he says.
Becoming a lecturer in mathematics is a 10-year process from high school to university and then a PhD, Tisdell says.
“You need to be committed because a lot of training is
involved. These days it is very rare for lecturers not to have PhDs,” Tisdell explains.
“It’s a bit weird when you get your first professional position at 28. But I was lucky that from 16 I knew this is what I would like to do and everything sort of fell into place. However, you really have to want to do it.”
Tisdell says a good lecturer should be able to communicate their ideas in a simple manner and be able to entertain their students.
“You need to be able to encourage people as well. A lot of people don’t like maths because they don’t feel they can do it,” he says.
He has written 30 research papers in the field of differential equations, which describe the equations of motion, as well as treatises on the field which examines the combination of continuous and discreet mathematics.
How to be … a maths lecturer
Most university lecturers in mathematics require an undergraduate degree followed by a PhD in maths. For further information contact the Australian Mathematical Society on (07) 3365 2313 or visit http://www.austms.org.au