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Mathigon.org: "The Math Book of the Future" (mathigon.org)
73 points by nickpinkston on Sept 3, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments



The title got me excited ... but it is misleading. The math book of the future will be available under a Creative Commons licence and will be set up so as to be easily translatable into other languages. This is just setting up a future money grab ... which, I understand, may fall squarely within the philosophy of HN and startups. One more resource I will unfortunately not be able to use and incorporate in my teaching (which is done in French).


I too received a different image from the words. Something that captures the equivalent vision for math learners that light table holds for programmers. Not necessarily an emphasis on visual - sometimes that is right but not always.

Key being the ability to fiddle in real time to gain an intuition, as the brain is optimized to do. Computers give the closest tool for estimating the abstract to something tangible.


Is there a good list of CC textbooks? So far the only organized move like that is Wikibooks.

It's kind of sad that the Gates foundation will probably never support a movement like that.


Khan Academy releases open source teaching material and is funded by Gates foundation. Probably some day they may support textbooks too... Any reason why not?


I was just under the impression that Gates wouldn't support open source/cc stuff. The Feynman Silverlight thing made me pretty cynical.


Yea, I was quoting them - though maybe "format" or "philosophy" might be a good modifier to add.


I don't know. Based on economies of scale, the future might be English and Chinese and leave everything as "third world languages". It would be nicer to have content be free but sophisticated tools be paid, though.


The site is visually compelling--I have been unable to locate much mathematics, however. There are a few exceptions within the World of Mathematics. The top three entries under Symmetry and Space and the panel on sequences under Numbers and Patterns contain some content. Nevertheless, the little content available and the classroom activities PDFs display a transcendent level of professionalism, a superior technical mastery of apparently every aspect of digital publication and an infallible mathematical aesthetic sensibility. The placeholders look promising.

What would be most useful to me is know-how: I would like to know how to produce impressive graphics and video presentations at this level.

Oops: typo in the sequences panel.

"Nowbody knows whether 3003 appears more than eight times, or whether there are any other numbers appearing eight or more times. This is known as Singmaster’s conjecture, named after the American mathematician David Singmaster (1939)."

Rewrite the last sentence, given the audience. State the corect conjecture in full--don't say 'this', especially when the preceding sentence is a disjunction, no disjunct of which is a conjecture. The conjecture isn't whether 3003 appears eight or more times. If this is intended as "3003 occurs eight or more times" then it is not Signmaster's conjecture. The reader would not know that the conjecture is the existence of a uniform bound on all the occurrences of numbers in Pascal's triangle other than 1. The statement as it stands contains misleading extraneous cognitive load and must be corrected--there is too much to learn. Give the reader good examples to build upon. The reader can supply his or her own conceptual ambiguities while attempting to manage the cognitive load of the subject.

The success of the site will largely depend on how well it manages extraneous, intrinsic and germane cognitive load.


I made two typos of my own: 'corect' should be 'correct' and 'Signmaster' (obviously an improvement on the original) should be 'Singmaster'. In general it is difficult to write even one page of correct mathematics, and this is a preview. I don't know how well soliciting content will work, given the copyright.


Awesome! It would be really cool to see an overhaul of current research papers to be more suited in digital form. A static PDF with words just doesn't do justice when you can enrich research and content with animations and interactivity. Heres an excellent example: http://worrydream.com/ScientificCommunicationAsSequentialArt...


While the graphic format you link to might be ok for novices who are reading a seminal paper on graph theory but supposedly need an illustration to explain "linear" and "all pairs" (really?). As someone familiar with the jargon I find it increadibly frustrating. I image it would take 10x longer at least to create such a document than writing the prose - not a great use of researcher's time.

In particular the lack of a solid left margin makes it hard to read. Really it's not a paper anymore, it's an infographic.

It seems considerably more wise to educate novices in the jargon, than to re-write every research paper in a novice-friendly over-illustrated manner. After all, how many graphs of "linear" do our novices really need to look at?


Hyper linking content (with a clean visual pesentation for links and displaying linked content)is the answer to the question of how much introductory/background content to put into a document. Cf wiki, especially the kind that auto-link known terms.


Really excited to see this - some higher math here and what looks like the seed of some good concepts.


Would you mind to link to any of it. After only seeing 'coming soon' windows, without any content, for a a dozen tries I gave up.


Very nice visually, but it doesn't look like it's accessible (#a11y).

And, this makes accessibility even harder, but I'd like to see more interactive simulations and tools rather than passive animations, like at http://www.socr.ucla.edu/ and http://phet.colorado.edu/


The front page slider timeout neglects to take into account the loading time of the first slide. So the first slide seems to only appear for a second and then the second slide comes in. I never really thought about that before, but if we make autoscroll timeouts then the first slide should probably have a longer delay.


Looks really interesting, the Internet has a huge potential for making maths more entertaining. Cannot wait to see more content (especially dynamic one).

There is a bit of frustration when every time you close an article, you land on the first page instead of the page you were currently viewing (on Firefox 15).


Great stuff - I'm suitably impressed and that's no mean feat. I look forward to more content.

There's a lot of exciting and interesting stuff happening at the moment and a lot of it is coming out of Cambridge. So much to absorb - so little time.

Congratulations at treating IE as a first class citizen as well.


exciting indeed! the beta version of the web/e-book was impressive content-wise; I'm looking forward to the free apps out this fall to see more interactive iterations. I'm intrigued by the creator/author behind the project; it seems to be just one, a recent Cambridge math grads with some technical chops in web design and graphics. inspiring to see someone build such a rich digital product with such a well-defined and arguably socially important purpose; re-framing maths education as colorful, interactive, and multi-dimensional exploration, rather than just tedious algebraic manipulations and word problems, could broaden the aspirations of many students.


The design is gorgeous, I absolutely love it. Can you learn to design sites that beautiful or is innate artistic ability a pre-requisite. If the former can someone point to some good resources/courses.


I too would like to know about such resources.


Wouldn't it be nicer if you could double-click anything, see how it was done (formulae/code), change them, add on to them and share them. I think that's how this math book could work for a very broad age spectrum.




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