Academia and finance. The difference, says Neil Chriss, Director of the Financial Mathematics program at the Courant Institute, is in the currency. In academia your currency is the papers you publish. In finance billions of dollars are at stake and your currency is money. Your success in either area depends how well you accumlate either form of currency. If you think you might be interested in a career in mathematical finance this feature is a good place to start.

J. P. Bouchaud describes his early love for statistics and how his ideas progressed into a company that uses statistical physics to model financial problems.

Mark Staley, a general manager at Global Analytics, Market Risk Management,CIBC, explains how an expertise in mathematics or physics can be morphed into a career in finance.

Think you'd like to become a trader? Read Mitch Handa's story for the inside details on what it's like.

Paul Wilmott explains that by combining an academic post with his own financial company, Oxford financial, he's managed to have it all: the big bucks of finance and a life!

Although studying maths or physics is the most straightforward route for scientists into finance, there are other paths. Chris Attfield explains how he ended up working in the city of London via a PhD in chemistry.

Read about programs in mathematical finance at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, the Courant Institute, and the Warwick Business School in the UK.

And finally, check out our resources for making the transition.