**241**

votes

**21**answers

30k views

### Thinking and Explaining

How big a gap is there between how you think about mathematics and what you say to others? Do you say what you're thinking? Please give either personal examples of how your thoughts and words ...

**175**

votes

**11**answers

15k views

### Refereeing a Paper [closed]

I've refereed at least a dozen papers in my (short) career so far and I still find the process completely baffling. I'm wondering what is actually expected and what people tend to do...
Some things ...

**118**

votes

**68**answers

23k views

### Which math paper maximizes the ratio (importance)/(length)?

My vote would be Milnor's 7-page paper "On manifolds homeomorphic to the 7-sphere", in Vol. 64 of Annals of Math. For those who have not read it, he explicitly constructs smooth 7-manifolds which are ...

**107**

votes

**14**answers

12k views

### Is a free alternative to MathSciNet possible?

How could a free (i.e. free content) alternative for MathSciNet and Zentralblatt be created?
Comments
Some mathematicians have stopped writing reviews for MathSciNet because they feel their ...

**103**

votes

**107**answers

35k views

### Most memorable titles [closed]

Apparently, for a large number of readers, the choice whether they select to read a paper or not is often strongly influenced by the title.
I was wondering if the MO-users would be willing to share ...

**91**

votes

**20**answers

13k views

### Mathematical habits of thought and action which would be of use to non-mathematicians

Once again I come to MO for help with something I'm writing for the public.
Which habits of mathematicians -- aspects of the way we approach problems, the way we argue, the way we function as a ...

**90**

votes

**28**answers

19k views

### Are there other nice math books close to the style of Tristan Needham?

Hello, I've been very positively impressed by Tristan Needham's book "Visual Complex Analysis", a very original and atypical mathematics book which is more oriented to helping intuition and insight ...

**87**

votes

**24**answers

18k views

### Tools for collaborative paper-writing

I personally use a revision control system (git) to manage my own paper writing, back things up, and synchronize between different machines. However, I've found most programmer's revision control ...

**66**

votes

**15**answers

6k views

### Tools for long-distance collaboration

Background
In general, I am aware of four and a half methods of long-distance collaboration:
Telephone (including voice-chat, VOIP, etc.; anything that is voice based)
Text chat (chat room, IM, ...

**63**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Good ways to engage in mathematics outreach?

Greetings all, I have often heard that it would be good if we as a community did more in the way of mathematics outreach: more to explain what it is we do to the community at large, more to expose ...

**47**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### How to know if somebody else is also working on your problem?

Once you have spotted a mathematical problem that (presumably) fits your degree of expertise, whether you are a phd student or an established professor, you have to deal with the following non ...

**47**

votes

**1**answer

5k views

### Is it best to run or walk in the rain? [closed]

According to the Norwegian meterological institute, the answer is that it is best to run. According to Mythbusters (quoted in the comments to that article), the answer is that it is best to walk.
My ...

**43**

votes

**15**answers

8k views

### How does the work of a pure mathematician impact society? [closed]

First, I will explain my situation.
In my University most of the careers are doing videos to explain what we do and try to attract more people to our careers.
I am in a really bad position, because ...

**36**

votes

**29**answers

8k views

### Most intriguing mathematical epigraphs

Good epigraphs may attract more readers. Sometimes it is necessary.
Usually epigraphs are interesting but not intriguing.
To pick up an epigraph is some kind of nearly mathematical problem: it ...

**34**

votes

**10**answers

3k views

### Presenting a paper: Do's and Don'ts?

I was wondering what would be the best way to present your paper at a conference, if your paper is selected for "short communication", lasting for about 15 minutes?
Should you concentrate on the main ...

**28**

votes

**15**answers

8k views

### What's so great about blackboards? [closed]

Many mathematicians seem to think that the only way to give a mathematics talk is by using chalk on a blackboard. To some, even using a whiteboard is heresy. And we Don't Talk About Computers.
I'd ...

**28**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### The unpublished papers in reference to the published papers

Sometimes it happens that a published paper refers to an unpublished paper for a result used.
In this case, if we want to check this result by ourselves, we need to access to this unpublished paper.
...

**26**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Means of Promoting Mathematics in Young Countries!

We all know mathematics is life, this question is for Mankind. It's mathoverflow here when some parts of the world we have mathunderflow! I think we can do something through ideas. A similar ...

**22**

votes

**11**answers

8k views

### Blackboard rendering of math fonts

I learned most of my math font rendering from watching others (for example, I draw ζ terribly). In most cases it is passable, but I'm often uncomfortable using fonts like Fraktur on the board. ...

**22**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Errata database?

Some authors do a really great job by collecting errors and comments to their books and putting a list on their websites. I wonder if there is some (perhaps wiki-style) website where errata are ...

**21**

votes

**10**answers

19k views

### Mathematical podcasts/audio

Just to ask if anyone is aware of any interesting math podcasts? I am particularly interested in podcasts describing mathematics in the wider world; but interesting academic podcasts would also be ...

**19**

votes

**16**answers

6k views

### Journals for undergraduates

Are there math journals that are aimed for undergraduates? I don't mean here journals where students can publish their papers, but journals that publish introductory articles that an undergraduate can ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

828 views

### Where to look for corrections of papers?

When I start reading a paper, is there some easy way to find a list of corrections for that paper?
For example, it happens occasionally that some result of a paper turns out to be wrong, or at least ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### On the proofs (and disproofs) of Riemann Hypothesis [closed]

As anyone who follows the arxiv, I notice every now and then "proofs" and "disproofs" of Riemann Hypothesis. I looked on several such articles, and it seemed to me quite nonsense, but I didn't make ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

832 views

### Describe the desired features of a “Mathematics Colloquium”?

I'm now a member of my department's colloquium committee. Our task is to make a great colloquium series. I thought that the first step would be to come up with an appropriate definition of ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Should we post on arXiv only papers in publishable shape (or very close)?

Question: Should we post on arXiv only papers in publishable shape (or very close)?
This question should be distinguished from the following:
Should one post a paper on the arXiv if it is not ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### What does a mathematician expect from mathematics education? [closed]

Consider that my question is not a personal and/or subjective question. Perhaps, you have hired a mathematics educator in your department and you are interested in finding a way to communicate with ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Beamer hints and tips [closed]

I deleted a rant from this question because I felt it detracted from the given answer to the specific question. However, beamer is the "new kid on the block" in terms of giving talks (not that new!) ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

319 views

### Non-English language Mathematical podcasts/audio

Following on from this question, does anyone know of any good quality non-English language mathematical podcasts? I'm particularly interested in anything relating to the history of mathematics.
I'm ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Why are the Dynkin diagrams E6, E7 and E8 always drawn the way they are drawn?

The Dynkin diagrams of type ADE are ubiquitous in mathematics as solutions of various classification problems. The diagram E6 is usually drawn by five dots in a row with a sixth dot above the third, ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

509 views

### How would you cite a result that it is not quite correct, but whose proof contains some useful ideas

There is a paper that was published 15 years ago; one of the theorems in it is wrong in general. A few years ago some people told the author that this theorem is wrong as stated, but yet a partial ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

159 views

### Is the ISC kaput [closed]

The very useful Inverse Symbolic Calculator is showing me this
What's up? multiple choice
(a) No, it's fine at that address: idiot Edgar did something wrong...
(b) It is off-line at that ...

**1**

vote

**5**answers

5k views

### What is the difference between the biconditional iff. and equality = ?

Hello,
I've been used to writing logical transformations using equality, but the other day it struck me that perhaps I should be using the biconditional $\iff$?
So my question is:
What is the ...

**0**

votes

**0**answers

16 views

### is any closed form relation that can state the error probability of code versus its variable and check node degree distributions?

In Low Density parity check code design, when bit (or frame) error probability of code is the objective of the design, we need a closed form relation between error probably (or even an approximate or ...