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FD: Graduate Student Working Group

Mathematical Problems in Fluid Dynamics

FD - Graduate Student Working Group

Wednesdays 11:10am-12:10 pm Pacific Time
Organizers: Thomas Alazard and Jean-Marc Delort


How to give a talk using slides for the graduate seminar

Since this seminar has also a training role, we would like to recall some basic rules that should be followed for the talks given at the graduates students seminar.

The first and main requirement is the following: DO NOT start typing on your slides all the things you would like to say, thinking that the more slides you present, the better the talk. You have probably already listened to talks where the speaker was using tens of slides, with the consequence that you did not understand anything to the conference. For the seminar, we impose the following rule:

Use at most 10 beamer slides (including title page).

You should be aware of the fact that 10 slides is already too much for 25 minutes!!! Here are some hints in order to prepare your talk:

Prepare your talk writing on paper what you would write on the blackboard if you were not using slides. Then go over your talk, saying what you plan to say and writing again on paper what you would write on the blackboard on the day of the talk. Stop at the end of the 25 minutes planned for the talk. Very likely, you will have presented only a (small) part of your planned material. Slash the proportion of it that seems necessary in order to comply with the 25 minutes length. This will oblige you to select what is really important and to discard technicalities that do not deserve being presented to the audience. After that, make a new rehearsal. Likely you will succeed to present a larger portion of you planned talk, but may be not the whole of it. Iterate process until you finally have a presentation that fits in the given time. Then you may type your beamer presentation, typing only those words that you’ve been able to write on your paper during your final rehearsal.

• Be aware that those that attend the talk do not have any kind of “photographic memory”. In other words you should NEVER show with the pointer a formula without reading or commenting it. As a general fact, you should spend on each formula that is on your presentation at least the same amount of time that the one you would need to write it fully on a blackboard with chalk. In formulas, avoid unnecessary complications. For instance, write explicitly only those terms for which their exact form is important. For less important terms, it is better to just mention their relevant properties (cubic terms, more regular terms,. . . ).

• Do not forget to state your main result, preferably in the first part of the talk. Burying the public under tons of computations and explaining what they are for only at the end of your talk are definitive don’ts. Always try to explain ideas. When computations are necessary, when possible, prefer using a simplified model that will allow you to explain the key points.

It is always difficult to prepare a mathematical presentation that does justice to a difficult proof and is understandable to the public. Resist the urge to talk about technical points and always keep in mind that the audience will be extremely happy to understand at the end of your presentation those two basic things: 1) what was the question, 2) what is the main statement.


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