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A Primer of Mathematical Writing
Steven G. Krantz, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
cover
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1997; 223 pp; softcover
Reprint/Revision History:
reprinted with corrections 1998
ISBN-10: 0-8218-0635-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-0635-7
List Price: US$23
Member Price: US$18.40
Order Code: PMW
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This book is about writing in the professional mathematical environment. While the book is nominally about writing, it's also about how to function in the mathematical profession. In many ways, this text complements Krantz's previous bestseller, How to Teach Mathematics. Those who are familiar with Krantz's writing will recognize his lively, inimitable style.

In this volume, he addresses these nuts-and-bolts issues:

  • Syntax, grammar, structure, and style
  • Mathematical exposition
  • Use of the computer and TeX
  • E-mail etiquette
  • All aspects of publishing a journal article

Krantz's frank and straightforward approach makes this book particularly suitable as a textbook. He does not avoid difficult topics. His intent is to demonstrate to the reader how to successfully operate within the profession. He outlines how to write grant proposals that are persuasive and compelling, how to write a letter of recommendation describing the research abilities of a candidate for promotion or tenure, and what a dean is looking for in a letter of recommendation. He further addresses some basic issues such as writing a book proposal to a publisher or applying for a job. Readers will find in reading this text that Krantz has produced a quality work which makes evident the power and significance of writing in the mathematics profession.

Request an examination or desk copy.

Readership

Advanced high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in technical fields; professional mathematicians, physicists, engineers, chemists, biologists, and computer scientists.

Reviews

"This book is about writing in the professional mathematical environment. While the book is nominally about writing, it's also about how to function in the mathematical profession. Krantz's frank and straightforward approach makes this particularly suitable as a textbook. He does not avoid difficult topics."

-- Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik

"Krantz provides brief but helpful advice on writing a survey article, an opinion piece, a letter of recommendation, a book review, a referee's report, a talk, a grant application, a curriculum vitae, a job application, and email. He concludes his book with a chapter called 'The modern writing environment' which discusses the use of computers, TeX, spell checkers, etc. Krantz's book is lively, entertaining and provides many amusing anecdotes ... [an] excellent and worthy candidate for a statistician's library ... more useful on your personal bookshelf than in a shared library, so it can be consulted regularly."

-- Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics

"Krantz, a prolific and distinguished mathematical author, discourses engagingly (yet seriously) on the art and etiquette of virtually all types of writing an academic mathematician is likely to encounter ... Grammatical points, stylistic and typesetting issues, and the correct and effective use of mathematical notation are handled deftly and with good humor ... [Hopefully] senior faculty will consider it mandatory reading for graduate students and even upper-division undergraduates. An enjoyable way to learn some fundamentals of good mathematical writing. Highly recommended."

-- CHOICE

"Well written in a lively style and will be found useful by anybody who is aware of the power and significance of writing in the mathematical profession."

-- European Mathematical Society Newsletter

"[Krantz has] expanded and elaborated the material in Halmos's article [1970] and added discussions of the uses of computer technology in mathematical writing ... enjoyable to read ... worth having on your bookshelf ... written in a very personal style that is meant to engage the reader in a lively conversation ... In addition, he has a chapter on how to write a book and sections on other sorts of professional prose such as referee's reports and letters of recommendation. In keeping with his general approach, he also has more to say about the psychological and sociological aspect of mathematical communication ..."

-- American Mathematical Monthly

"[The book] provides a compact set of questions to consider before undertaking the writing process, questions particularly well suited for mathematical exposition. In addition to being of value to faculty interested in thinking about what they write, A Primer of Mathematical Writing would make an excellent gift for a graduate student or junior colleague."

-- Journal of the American Statistical Association

Table of Contents

  • The basics
  • Topics specific to the writing of mathematics
  • Exposition
  • Other types of writing
  • Books
  • The modern writing environment
  • Closing thoughts
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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