• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Amateur mathematicians versus professional mathematicians

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Is it better for some one interested in mathematics to be an amateur mathematician and pursue a degree that can help him earning more money like medicine . Mathematicians do not earn much money . right ? Fermat for example was a lawyer and an amateur mathematician , yet he contributed alot to the field.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
277
0
If you want to contribute original ideas, you pretty much have to get at least a masters.
 
  • #3
MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
4,168
161
If you want to contribute original ideas, you pretty much have to get at least a masters.
If he wants to deal with math as a hobby he doesn't need even a Bsc.
Having any degree doesn't guarantee you'll contribute original ideas, but having original ideas might entail having a degree.
 
  • #4
If you want to contribute original ideas, you pretty much have to get at least a masters.
Math is purely theoretical , there are no experiments in it . If some one is smart enough and really interested in mathematics , he can study it on his own and seek a degree that enables him to earn much money .For example , Docs earn much more than most mathematicans at least in my country . I'm interested in both medicine and math , so I was thinking I can be a doctor and yet take math as a hobby
 
  • #5
If he wants to deal with math as a hobby he doesn't need even a Bsc.
Having any degree doesn't guarantee you'll contribute original ideas, but having original ideas might entail having a degree.
You are right .few of math majors contribute to original ideas yet they are all interested in math
 
  • #6
If some one is smart enough and really interested in mathematics , he can study it on his own and seek a degree that enables him to earn much money
Well, 'if someone is smart enough' is quite a qualifier - and it isn't just about smarts, it's about commitment and motivation too. The point is that for almost everyone, if you want to contribute an original idea, you will need to spend years understanding the pretext (which is part of the plan from an undergraduate degree).
 
  • #7
Mathematicians do not earn much money . right ?
No, not necessarily correct - you're being too general. Do you mean academic mathematicians? What do you consider 'much money' to be?

An undergraduate degree in mathematics would allow you to study mathematics to a good level, and then if all you were concerned about was money, you can head over into finance or something like that. Mathematics gives you hundreds of options for careers. Become an actuary or an analyst; you'll still be using maths and you can make a lot of money.

Fermat for example was a lawyer and an amateur mathematician , yet he contributed alot to the field.
This isn't a good example to use. "So I'll just be like Fermat" is easier said than done.
 
  • #8
Math is purely theoretical , there are no experiments in it
This also is completely incorrect. Applied mathematicians might not be involved in actually carrying experiments out, but they can certainly be involved in the process of design and are heavily involved with the data that comes out of it. Consider someone that models traffic data. They might develop a model, notice something key is missing from the data then feed that back to the experimental design.


If some one is smart enough and really interested in mathematics , he can study it on his own
Again, that isn't true for everyone. I know I wouldn't have managed through all of the material I covered at undergraduate without the support of my institution (and especially not in the same amount of time).

I'm interested in both medicine and math , so I was thinking I can be a doctor and yet take math as a hobby
You could look at mathematical biology. Sure, you won't make as much money as you would if you became a medical doctor, but it depends where your priorities lie.
 

Related Threads for: Amateur mathematicians versus professional mathematicians

Replies
6
Views
3K
Replies
23
Views
11K
Replies
2
Views
11K
  • Last Post
Replies
0
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
4K
Top