Friday, August 9, 2013

Why blog about mathematics?

Hi everyone!

An important part of being a researcher is conveying what you learn to others.  The way mathematicians convey their results to colleagues is to write articles, which nowadays are posted on the arXiv and submitted for publication in journals.  In a journal, an article is ideally peer-reviewed to check for correctness and then published once any issues are corrected.  

This system works well for mathematicians to convey topics to other mathematicians who have a similar background of knowledge as themselves.  However, the size of the audience for these specialized journal articles is limited.  For example, if I try to talk to other research mathematicians in my own department about our recent results, this is a non-trivial undertaking.  

I think that it is our duty as mathematicians to share our understanding with as wide an audience as possible, and I think that creating and maintaining a blog is one good way to try to explain my research to a wider audience.  I have been hoping to do this for a while and I figured that I would start with my most recent joint work on simultaneous core partitions with Brant Jones and +Drew Armstrong.  I may just have gotten a round tuit.

I realize that even when I try to convey these ideas, it will not make sense to everyone.  But I expect this to be a learning experience for me as well as for you.  If you have any questions about the topics involved, leave a comment and I will try to answer your questions by providing external links or writing additional blog posts.

I would encourage other researchers to broaden their audiences as well, be it in research mathematics, mathematics education, or any other field.  I think it is good for the researcher to try to convey their ideas to a wider field, and good for the public to see what it is that we do.  I see this as part of a larger project, similar to +Dana Ernst's recent post about making a "Science Gist" for mathematics.  

Onward and upward!