Author Archives: Hunter Johnson

Searching for Lakatos

Should a textbook always give the whole truth?  Being sticklers for detail, as mathematicians generally are, the answer would seem to be an obvious “yes.” In some cases it’s even difficult to imagine what the “partial truth” would be. But … Continue reading

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Mathy reads

I once had an undergraduate professor, charmingly bespectacled and pleasantly ill-suited for his chosen career of mathematics, who said that no matter how high one goes in math, he or she would still need from time to time to take … Continue reading

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Magical Arguments

There are certain arguments that are beautiful and convincing but not admissible as proofs. They give the right answer, and show in an important way why something should be true, but they don’t pass muster as formal mathematics. Frequently they … Continue reading

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Offense and defense

Below I will give what I think are controversial opinions on mathematics education. It isn’t my intention to offend anyone, only to motivate discussion. I also want to say in advance that when I talk about higher math skills I … Continue reading

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Log Rhythms

I’m nostalgic for an era that never included me–the days of the log table. Eli Maor’s book e: The story of a number, turned my attention to the history of logs.  He tells the story of the Scottish wizard Napier … Continue reading

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Gowers on Elsevier

Fields medalist and Polymath founder Timothy Gowers has some bellicose thoughts on the state of the journal industry.   As we all know, mathematics journals tend to be written, edited, and typeset by volunteers.   This can make their exponentially increasing … Continue reading

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City of Solitude

Many people have noticed and  commented on recent article in the New York Times on the value of solitude in creative work. In the article, Susan Cain remarks; … the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, … Continue reading

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