Comments on: I Like Eq http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/slog/2008/i-like-eq/ Weaving together Astronomy+Statistics+Computer Science+Engineering+Intrumentation, far beyond the growing borders Fri, 01 Jun 2012 18:47:52 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4 By: vlk http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/slog/2008/i-like-eq/comment-page-1/#comment-314 vlk Thu, 14 Aug 2008 22:02:29 +0000 http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/slog/?p=379#comment-314 True that. It takes a great deal of effort to simplify a complex concept into natural language. Math is basically shorthand, I suppose, to describe complicated ideas without ambiguity. Think of how difficult it would be to say what a straight line is in English, as opposed to saying "y=mx+c"! Newton, for instance, in the Principia, writes his equations and does complicated integrals entirely as geometric constructs -- an amazing feat, but rather hard to read now without <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Newtons-Principia-Common-Physics-Psychology/dp/0198517440/s=books" rel="nofollow">commentary</a>. PS: Could you describe what sort of mathematical arguments you are looking to explain? Who are the target audience? One thing that may be useful: take a look at Prof. James Robert Brown's lecture on "Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning" at the Perimeter Institute, where he discusses ways to replace induction-based proofs of some well known theorems with geometrical sketch proofs. True that. It takes a great deal of effort to simplify a complex concept into natural language. Math is basically shorthand, I suppose, to describe complicated ideas without ambiguity. Think of how difficult it would be to say what a straight line is in English, as opposed to saying “y=mx+c”! Newton, for instance, in the Principia, writes his equations and does complicated integrals entirely as geometric constructs — an amazing feat, but rather hard to read now without commentary.

PS: Could you describe what sort of mathematical arguments you are looking to explain? Who are the target audience? One thing that may be useful: take a look at Prof. James Robert Brown’s lecture on “Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning” at the Perimeter Institute, where he discusses ways to replace induction-based proofs of some well known theorems with geometrical sketch proofs.

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By: John Scholes http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/slog/2008/i-like-eq/comment-page-1/#comment-313 John Scholes Thu, 14 Aug 2008 08:40:01 +0000 http://hea-www.harvard.edu/AstroStat/slog/?p=379#comment-313 Yes. All useful advice. But the real way to make papers easier to understand is to distil. You have to think really hard about the essence of what you are trying to say. Of course, you have to be a genius to do this really well - a good example is Fred Hoyle's autobiography, which contains more astrophysics than thousands of pages of the ApJ, all without a single equation. But we can all aspire to do better. On a more modest expository level, I am looking for important mathematical arguments which can be simply explained to the lay reader (in a page of A4 or less). I started with the <a> infinitude of primes</a>. Grateful for any ideas. Yes. All useful advice. But the real way to make papers easier to understand is to distil. You have to think really hard about the essence of what you are trying to say. Of course, you have to be a genius to do this really well – a good example is Fred Hoyle’s autobiography, which contains more astrophysics than thousands of pages of the ApJ, all without a single equation. But we can all aspire to do better.

On a more modest expository level, I am looking for important mathematical arguments which can be simply explained to the lay reader (in a page of A4 or less). I started with the infinitude of primes. Grateful for any ideas.

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