Today is a holiday, it’s raining and cold, and I’m too tired to do anything meaningful. So I took half an hour to make a picture to go with my earlier post about the organizational structure I belong to now. This picture explains why the signature on my latest article was so long: Université Paris Diderot, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu-Paris Rive Gauche, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, F-75013 Paris, France.
I’ve been in Paris for almost a month now. It’s been great! People at the math department and the math institute1 have all been welcoming and have helped me a lot in getting settled. There have been a lot of administrative procedures to complete – and I am unfortunately not done – and it’s great to have had people being able to guide me. And I finally found an apartment in Paris! It was unexpectedly hard: faculty salaries are not very high compared to the cost of living, and the first year is technically on “probation”, meaning I could theoretically get fired next August… Landlords in Paris have very rigid expectations and this made me fall outside them.
One question people often ask is why the university is called “Paris 7”, followed by the realization that there are (were!) thirteen universities in Paris, numbered from “Paris 1” to “Paris 13”. Here’s an attempt at explaining it (though I’m sure I can’t cover all the reasons.)
I finally got the confirmation from the ministry: I definitively got the job and I will be appointed in Paris-VII! A new life is about to begin…
I’ve been at the Fields Institute (in Toronto) for a week now, to participate in the summer school on derived geometry and higher structures. The lectures and talks are delightful! This whole conference is impressive! Hopefully my own talk yesterday was not out of place. I also learned that some people actually do read my blog! I was a bit surprised. So now I have the moral obligation to flesh out my posts a little. Here’s something that I hope people will find interesting.
Last week was life-changing, to say the least. I was interviewed for two maître de conférences1 positions, one in Université Paris Diderot, the other in Université Paris-Sud. And… I got ranked first for both jobs! So by all accounts I should have a permanent position next September. The difficult question I have to answer soon is which one. As they correspond to rather different profiles and expectations, this is not an easy choice.
I am of course extremely happy and I feel extremely lucky. This would not have been possible without the support of many people, foremost my former advisor Benoit Fresse, who gave me a lot of advice on how to navigate the French academic maze. My current supervisor, Thomas Willwacher, has also been a great support, and I thank him too.
This is a cautionary tale, with the hope that this post could help future applicants for permanent academic positions in France.
This past month, I’ve had the pleasure of applying for maître de conférences jobs – roughly equivalent to something between assistant/associate professor. It turned out to be a singularly more complicated process than I expected. The actual scientific part of the application was not too taxing, as I already had to do it when I applied for a chargé de recherche (“junior scientist”) job at CNRS in December, and my research statements, CV… didn’t change much since then. The administrative part was the kafkaesque part.
Many changes have happened in my life recently!
I defended my doctorate on November 17th. I guess I’m a doctor now! There are too many people to thank for that, so please see the “Thanks” section of my thesis. I am now entering the scary world of job applications. I am discovering the wonderful “GALAXIE” web application – fellow French job applicants know my pain.