Even Scientists Don't Like Reading MathCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: June 28, 2012 08:27AM
Though I do have a degree in mathematics, I do not always enjoy reading full equations in whatever I may be reading. For me at least, this is in part because I want to learn the idea of what I am reading more than the specific mechanics of it. It looks like I am not the only person who feels this way, according to a recent study from the University of Bristol.
The study analyzed citations in professional journal articles and found that the most math-heavy papers were referenced 50% less often than papers with little or no math. This would seem to indicate that the math-heavy papers are simply not being read or remembered by many scientists. With math being very important to the creation of new theories in many of areas of science, this is an issue because if the presentation of new theories is off-putting then spreading the new theory and information will be very difficult.
Fortunately there is an apparent solution the researchers found within their data. If the mathematics is simply placed in the appendix of a paper, instead of the main body of the work, there was no impact on the number citations it received. Also math education could be improved for science graduates, so the presence of a formula is not so intimidating.