The Paradox of the Proof | Project Wordsworth

may 2013 by tsuomela

"On August 31, 2012, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki posted four papers on the Internet. The titles were inscrutable. The volume was daunting: 512 pages in total. The claim was audacious: he said he had proved the ABC Conjecture, a famed, beguilingly simple number theory problem that had stumped mathematicians for decades. Then Mochizuki walked away. He did not send his work to the Annals of Mathematics. Nor did he leave a message on any of the online forums frequented by mathematicians around the world. He just posted the papers, and waited."

mathematics
proof
warrant
community
peer-review
sociology
fame
prestige
may 2013 by tsuomela

Yitang Zhang Proves 'Landmark' Theorem in Distribution of Prime Numbers | Simons Foundation

may 2013 by tsuomela

"On April 17, a paper arrived in the inbox of Annals of Mathematics, one of the discipline’s preeminent journals. Written by a mathematician virtually unknown to the experts in his field — a 50-something lecturer at the University of New Hampshire named Yitang Zhang — the paper claimed to have taken a huge step forward in understanding one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture. Editors of prominent mathematics journals are used to fielding grandiose claims from obscure authors, but this paper was different. Written with crystalline clarity and a total command of the topic’s current state of the art, it was evidently a serious piece of work, and the Annals editors decided to put it on the fast track."

mathematics
proof
warrant
community
peer-review
sociology
fame
prestige
may 2013 by tsuomela

Taken for Granted: Shocked, Shocked! to Find Disappointment on Campus - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

december 2009 by tsuomela

But as the great majority of faculty members learn--quickly or slowly depending on where they end up--the opportunity to do important science and gain major recognition only ever exists for a relative few--overwhelmingly those educated and employed at the most prestigious universities. The real issue in the distribution of recognition and prestige, Hermanowicz's meticulous research shows, is not the ability or drive of individual scientists but, to paraphrase the book's subtitle, "how institutions shape careers."

academia
academic
job
career
science
prestige
expertise
reputation
research
sociology
institutions
december 2009 by tsuomela

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