Things that change: The Length of a Talk

I somehow missed the phase of undergrad-grad life where one made posters. Even so, the form and duration of the research presentation I’ve had to give has shifted dramatically and without warning.

There are the 10-min, 15-min, 20-min talks. Then there are the 45 min, 50 min talks, and the jump from the shorter talks to the longer talks happened precisely during campus interviews when I was on the job market. I wish I had been more prepared. 

Post-job acquisition, now I have arrived at the 60 min talk request and I find I am at a bit of a loss. Shorter talks are a sprint to the point –  a little nugget to explain and entice. With no wiggle room, your presentation choices are essentially made for you. A 45-50 min talk, is much like a normal lecture. There is a narrative arc with a beginning, middle and end.

What, pray tell, should a 60 min research talk look like?

Untenured, year 1

I read this article years ago about an academic who found joy in her tenure-track years by imagining it was just a 7-year postdoc.

In part, it reads like a coping mechanism; a deliberate falsehood designed as armor against the “misery-inducing battle” that is being tenure-track. And it worked for her.

However, I’m currently visiting for 4 months at a university in Germany and things are different in Europe. I may have the title “Assistant Professor” but for the Europeans facts is facts. If you don’t have a permanent job, you ARE a postdoc. 

I’ve only been here for a couple weeks and I’ve slipped in seamlessly with the postdocs in the algebra and number theory group here. I can’t wait to see what else they have to teach me.