Mathematical Communication Blog

Leslie Lamport and Communicating Mathematics

Posted on March 19th, 2014 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Leslie Lamport of Microsoft Research is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious A.M. Turing Award, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery. Lamport was honored for “fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems, notably the invention of concepts such as causality and logical clocks, safety and liveness, replicated state machines,…  read more

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MAA Honors Three Exemplars of Mathematical Exposition

Posted on January 24th, 2014 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Scrawl a shape on a piece of paper. Really. Any shape. Now draw a curve tightly around your shape, as close as you can. Do this again. And again. Do you notice anything as you draw more outlines? Is the doodle getting more circular? Will this always happen, no matter what shape you start with?…  read more

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MAA Euler Book Prize Goes to Steven Strogatz’s “Joy of x”

Posted on January 23rd, 2014 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Bell curves are out. Fat tails are in. Thus reads the summary that aims to entice anyone scanning the table of contents of Steven Strogatz‘s The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) to read chapter 22, “The New Normal.” An expository masterpiece, from the one-sentence…  read more

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Danica McKellar Receives Math Communication Award

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Danica McKellar is the recipient of the 2014 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award. She is an actress (The Wonder Years, The West Wing), a published mathematician (while earning her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at UCLA), an advocate for mathematics education, and a New York Times best-selling author. McKellar’s books, blog, and public appearances have…  read more

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Questions of Usage

Posted on November 1st, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Would you consider use of the word “references” in the following sentence to be acceptable or unacceptable? The paper references several articles on global warming. How would you vote on the use of “referenced” in the sentence below? Yea or nay? During the press conference, the mayor referenced the recent floods. These two examples were…  read more

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Paul Zorn on Communicating Mathematics VII: Valuing Communication

Posted on October 17th, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College Part I: Introduction Part II: Mathematics in Literature Part III: What Is Mathematics? Part IV: Mathematical Language: Learning from Barbie Part V: Rule Books and Tour Guides: Two Live Questions Part VI: Lessons from History Part VII: Valuing Communication Mathematical communication is well done, and appropriately valued, by our associations and…  read more

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Paul Zorn on Communicating Mathematics VI: Lessons from History

Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College Part I: Introduction Part II: Mathematics in Literature Part III: What Is Mathematics? Part IV: Mathematical Language: Learning from Barbie Part V: Rule Books and Tour Guides: Two Live Questions Part VI: Lessons from History Pedagogical writing is certainly hard work. But it’s an honorable profession, and has been so for…  read more

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Paul Zorn on Communicating Mathematics V: Rule Books and Tour Guides: Two Live Questions

Posted on October 15th, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College Part I: Introduction Part II: Mathematics in Literature Part III: What Is Mathematics? Part IV: Mathematical Language: Learning from Barbie Part V: Rule Books and Tour Guides: Two Live Questions Next, I’d like to acknowledge two general questions that apply broadly in expository writing, but face textbook authors with particular…  read more

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Paul Zorn on Communicating Mathematics IV: Mathematical Language: Learning from Barbie

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College Part I: Introduction Part II: Mathematics in Literature Part III: What Is Mathematics? Part IV: Mathematical Language: Learning from Barbie On, then, to mathematical communication with our students and in our classrooms. I’ll sometimes refer specifically to textbooks. But I think that the same general principles apply, mutatis mutandis, to…  read more

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Paul Zorn on Communicating Mathematics III: What Is Mathematics?

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Ivars Peterson | No Comments

Paul Zorn, St. Olaf College Part I: Introduction Part II: Mathematics in Literature Part III: What Is Mathematics? OK, let’s get more serious and mainstream about mathematical communication as such, in service of mathematics itself. What, first of all, is this thing called mathematics that we’re hoping to communicate? Many people would mention patterns. For…  read more

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