Five years ago I joined Croatian Mathematical Society, its branch here in Split. A year after I was elected chairman of its engineering subbranch.

All in all it was not too exciting experience. In general, real mathematicians often live in their own world, which does not have too much with reality. One of my very appreciated comembers (she was even the chairlady of scientific subbranch and a professor at the Science and Mathematic Faculty, University of Split), when we were talking about themes for graduation theses for her undergraduate students said: "It is not important what is a student working on; it is only important that it is difficult!" (sic). This is the way of thinking rather different than mine.

Some other time we were discussing a reward/present for the high school student most successful in local mathematical contests. When I proposed to buy him/her a 48G+, or a GX, almost all the colleagues from the branch board responded: "A calculator?! What can a mathematician do with it, at all?".

These are only the two "case studies" described. I would not pretend that all the math people do think in such a way, but these are the ones I personally know.

IMHO, it would be far more interesting and exciting to try to join a Society of Cured Nymphomaniacs, but it is not so easy to find one...

I'm a member of the American Mathematical Society. Membership includes free subscriptions to paper copies of two excellent publications, the Bulletin of the AMS and the Notices of the AMS. (You can read the online versions of both of these without being a member.) Another good organization is the Mathematical Association of America.

Eddie, I joined NCTM, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, since I'm in training to become a middle school math teacher. They have lots of good resources related to teaching math and a comprehensive standards document that spells out exactly what kids need to know.

AMS and MAA is getting a lot of recommendations. Today I asked some math professors at Cal Poly Pomona (my alumni). I'm having a little difficulty picking between the two. Thanks everyone.

NCTM is a good suggestion. I am thinking about going back to school to get a Masters in math. Thanks!

So mathematicians are more into theory than applications. Did they have a lot of public presentaitons?

There was a public presentation of a prepared lecture each month. Most of these presentations were purely theoretical (difficult topics from group theory, topology, etc.). Almost every lecturer wanted to impress the auditorium with the fact that he (in most cases: she) was working on a topic extremely difficult to understand by "ordinary" people.

The most interesting presentations were the ones prepared by mathematicians working as high-school lecturers. They dealt with very interesting topics related to triangles, inequalities, algebraic equations, stereometry and how to present this topics using the easiest and the most understandable way.

AFAIR, when I presented my lecture "Application of program Derive in engineering mathematics", all of the auditorium responded with a unisone question: "Shall we lose our (lecturer) jobs if this comes out?". My response was also simple: "Hopefully!". They did not like it at all, but who can stop the progress.

Anyway, my impression was that they did not like engineers at all, particularly the ones somewhat skilled in mathematics, especially applied numerical methods. The approach of Math Society members was always based upon the thinking that mathematics is a self-sustained deductive theory and that its application is only a consequence of theory.

How wrong they were (and still are), at least IMHO.