I was inspired to write a blog post after reading this article about Maths in the media. Why is it that it’s so rare to see a news article on pure mathematics, even in Scientific magazines? I often find myself scouring the science section in the magazine shops, only to be disappointed by the lack of articles on maths (although I do manage to get sucked in by the astronomy and quantum physics headlines!). It’s frustrating, as a maths student, that the only real form of media that popularises mathematics are books. These can often be long and tedious to read and sometimes all I want is to dedicate 30 minutes to reading a good magazine!
The article seems to blame the lack of media coverage on maths on the difficulty for non-mathematicians to understand published papers on pure mathematics. Granted, even as an A-level student I still find it hard to find papers that I can understand! However, pure maths doesn’t have to be scary – there are plenty of topics that are easily accessible to anyone, for example cryptography, and plenty of authors who present these topics in a clear and concise manner, including Simon Singh. Also, maths is interesting! In fact, most people that I know (including my sister who is an English Literature student) find stories about maths, which veer away from the maths we learn at school, intriguing. The problem is that often it’s not applicable to our everyday lives; as beautiful as maths can be, the fact that it’s not “immediately practical”, as the article puts it, makes it harder to justify publishing articles on these stories that have “little connection to a reader’s daily life”.
Due to the difficulty to find sources that would keep me up to date with the latest news in mathematics, without having to read journals and published papers that I can’t understand with my level of maths, I searched the internet and found quite a few websites:
- Mathematics Magazine
- Discover Magazine – the news articles tagged ‘Math’
- Mathematics Magazine on MAA – needs subscription which is paid!
- Plus Magazine
- The Guardian – news articles tagged ‘Math’
- Maths Careers by the IMA – has some interesting articles (not all on careers!)
- Cut the Knot
I hope this is helpful for any of you budding mathematicians out there!
Let me know which one is your favourite website or if you have any other suggestions! M x