Mathematicians Writing for Mathematicians

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  • Line Edslev Andersen
  • Mikkel Willum Johansen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Henrik Kragh Sørensen, University of Copenhagen

We present a case study of how mathematicians write for mathematicians. We have conducted interviews with two research mathematicians, the talented PhD student Adam and his experienced supervisor Thomas, about a research paper they wrote together. Over the course of 2 years, Adam and Thomas revised Adam’s very detailed first draft. At the beginning of this collaboration, Adam was very knowledgeable about the subject of the paper and had good presentational skills but, as a new PhD student, did not yet have experience writing research papers for mathematicians. Thus, one main purpose of revising the paper was to make it take into account the intended audience. For this reason, the changes made to the initial draft and the authors’ purpose in making them provide a window for viewing how mathematicians write for mathematicians. We examined how their paper attracts the interest of the reader and prepares their proofs for validation by the reader. Among other findings, we found that their paper prepares the proofs for two types of validation that the reader can easily switch between.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSynthese
ISSN0039-7857
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

    Research areas

  • Contextualization, Mathematical argument, Mathematical audience, Mathematical publication, The nature of proof

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