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Tell HN: I am doing online reading sessions on analytic number theory (spxy.github.io)
103 points by susam 9 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

This is nice to see.

I'm always surprised how the overwhelming majority of pure math people I meet online are solidly on the algebra or logic side of things. Don't get me wrong, algebra is cool, but where's all the love for analysis & PDEs?

> but where's all the love for analysis & PDEs?

That would be getting too close to stuff that's actually useful.

Logic is my thing (although regrettably not what my supervisor has me doing; that's another can of worms).

For me personally, the above is exactly correct. Logic is wonderful for me in large part because it's so far removed from tactile reality, though so ingrained in everything.

PDEs/analysis are way too applied for my taste; they as such don't give me the same escape into a world of pure thought (although of course they do provide this moreso than applied ML, or -- god forbid, for me -- web development would). Logic is seductive to me this way.

It's still number theory though.

I think this is brilliant. Anyone wanna do one on Class Field Theory following Childress?

I admire your optimism!

I'm game. Email's in the profile. Aside from HN, do you have other plans on gathering up the numbers?

Not a mathematics whizz at all so I probably won't understand anything, but I love the concept! I know some people also do online reading sessions on Twitch, but I feel like it's still quite a niche environment. I wish it'd expand more; I see a lot of potential in it.

Will these sessions be recorded? For the cases where someone is unable to attend or wants to refer back to a prior discussion?

From the website FAQs:

Will these sessions be recorded?

Not at this time because we often refer to a few pages of the book via screen sharing during the meeting session. I don't know the copyright implications of recording such videos and sharing them with everyone online. If you have expertise in this area, I would like to know if my concern is genuine and if there is a way to resolve it.

Would be good to know who you are.

Thank you for the feedback. I realize it is important to introduce myself when sending out an invitation to join a book club like this, so I have added an FAQ section at https://spxy.github.io/bc/#faq where I introduce myself. I took the liberty to be elaborate there because I am not well known outside of a few very small communities.

By the way, I briefly talked about this yesterday at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26355752 where I mentioned how a small tech support channel evolved into a computer science and mathematics literature club. The parent story of that thread inspired me to make this post today.

To all supporters on HN, thank you for the bringing this post to the front page. I honestly did not expect this to come to the front page. At most, I expected a few people to notice it at /newest and join the book club. However, since I created this post, about 25 new members have joined which is great!

Thank you. The contents are far out of my depth but there is a general optimism that comes through while reading on your site and thinking of what your are bringing to the world. I hope that this trend of microcosms to find likewise intellectually interested individuals continues!

Recently I spoke to an about 80 year old scholar of Hegel and he still hosts book clubs for former students to his (and I presume his students ;) delight. Suppose that would be the way of the future. A club for any of your delights.

Wow! That is a lot of info. Thanks for taking the time!

Following a couple of links gives this:


The UK Open University (distance learning) uses Apostol heavily in its MSc Maths course.

I've put a post about this in their private forum, so you may pick up some interest from there.

Do they still use Brennan for Geometry? Assuming they still do Geometry, but frankly it is a very informative book.

I haven't encountered it in the MSc - but they may use it (Brannan) at undergrad level.

PSA: we often hold similar events at bstn.cc, in CS and math.

Do you mind posting brief notes indicating how far the reading group has progressed after each meeting?

Thanks for taking the initiative to host this.

Man, I'd really like to join this, but not gonna stay up til 2am for it...

There are some meetings scheduled at 18:00 UTC (10:00 PST) too.


It's where people get together to have a discussion around a set piece of reading. In this case the reading is of a textbook, and the discussion is intended to help everyone understand the material.

if the mother is _reading_ Number Theory at post-grad level and the child is any randomer on the internet, then yes, something like that

The book they are reading, Apostol's "Introduction to Analytic Number Theory", is for undergraduates.

According to the preface, even that is overstating it: "Actually, a great deal of the book requires no calculus at all and could profitably be studied by sophisticated high school students".

Nevertheless, when I picked up a copy near the start of my freshman year at Caltech and had a go at it, it kicked my ass.

> According to the preface, even that is overstating it: "Actually, a great deal of the book requires no calculus at all and could profitably be studied by sophisticated high school students".

I'm pretty sure the harder the math book the more they claim a sophisticated high school student could study it.

Yes - looking at the reading requirements of textbooks is often cause for wry amusement.

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