Mathematical research and the internet


2 September 2009


On Monday night I attended a lecture by Terry Tao on “Mathematical research and the internet”. Terry is Australia’s most famous mathematician, our only Field’s medalist, and one of the most active mathematical bloggers in the world. He has been described as the “Mozart of mathematics” for his remarkable precocity and prolific output. The slides of his talk are available on his blog site.

It was an interesting talk, with excellent slides, marred only by the poor sound system and his bad habit of mumbling. I keep a pretty close eye on internet developments that affect research in my field, so there wasn’t a lot new for me, but the following observations may be of interest.

Terry concluded by saying

In some ways, there are too many such technologies. And they don’t always work well with each other. But these issues should fade with time as later generations of tools become easier to use, more integrated, and more mainstream. Eventually, some version of these tools will be as universally adopted among mathematicians as email and LaTeX are today.