Monday, December 22, 2014

Too much math for a science journal

Hollywood dumbs down the mathemetics of Alan Turing, but I expect better from a leading science journal. Nature magazine asked a couple of Harvard mathematicians to write an obituary of Alexander_Grothendieck, but they lament:
The sad thing is that this was rejected as much too technical for their readership. Their editor wrote me that 'higher degree polynomials', 'infinitesimal vectors' and 'complex space' (even complex numbers) were things at least half their readership had never come across. The gap between the world I have lived in and that even of scientists has never seemed larger. I am prepared for lawyers and business people to say they hated math and not to remember any math beyond arithmetic, but this!? Nature is read only by people belonging to the acronym 'STEM' (= Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and in the Common Core Standards, all such people are expected to learn a hell of a lot of math. Very depressing.
The review does get a little technical, but don't the reader want to know what the man really did, instead of over-hyped irrelevant stories?

Update: A math and biology professor describes the differences.

No comments: