Michaelmas Term Week 7

The lists of essay descriptions will have been published online.  You will now begin the process of choosing an essay topic, and reading the papers that are referred to in the essay descriptions.  Reading mathematics is not easy, but there are tricks of the trade which make it easier.  The talk this week should help you get started.

Even before you attempt to read more than the description of the essay online, I strongly suggest you ask our friendly research students about the topics.  This will save you a lot of time.  You should also contact the essay setter.  Essay setters have different ways of handling initial discussions with students who may wish to write on the topics they have set.  Some will encourage individuals to come and talk with them directly, others will arrange a time when they will present the topic more formally in a short talk, before meeting with students individually.  Expressing an interest in writing an essay does not commit you to writing or submitting that particular essay, or any essay at all.  You will not have to make that choice officially until late April/early May. Of course, if you do want to write an essay, you have to choose and start far earlier than that to have time to complete it, but should it go horribly wrong you have the option of abandoning it and not submitting, until the time that you have officially declared which examination papers you will be taking (see Easter term, Week 2).