A Short Guide to Writing Mathematics

(a guide for undergraduates)

Stephen B Maurer

Professor of Mathematics, Swarthmore College

This book – a full manuscript has been written and revised – was prepared under contract with Addison-Wesley-Longman for their Short Guide Series, which includes, for instance, the very successful Short Guide to Writing in Biology, but which otherwise includes mostly humanities and social science entries.

For various reasons, and by mutual agreement, AWL and I terminated the contract in 2000, and the copyright reverted to me.

I am not actively seeking a publisher at the current time. Instead, if you contact me, tell me about yourself and why you are interested in mathematics writing, and promise some feedback, I will allow you to download the whole manuscript for free – for your personal use, or to give hardcopy to the students in your classes for free or at cost.

I do not grant you permission to circulate the ms more broadly, or to tell others the download URL (once I tell it to you) or to link to that page from your own webpages. Such links make sites known to Google and other search engines.

I would like feedback not only on what is in the current manuscript, but also on any ideas you have for what parts of it would make a successful publication eventually – something instructors would feel comfortable assigning to students and students would actually read and benefit from. The current ms is too long for most students. I have ideas for selecting and revising parts of it, but I would like to hear from you.

One thought is that key information would go in the publication and those who want to know more would be referred to the current manuscript, or some modification of it, which would remain freely available on the web. I might also provide an extensive bibliography to other people's documents, both on the web and in hard copy.


Here are a few things available to anyone without asking (though I'd still like to hear from you):


From the Preface:

Attention to mathematics writing has flowered in the last 10 years: professionals are asked to write better and students are asked to write more. There has been a concomitant increase in books about mathematics writing. But these books have either been for teachers about how to use writing, or for professionals and graduate students about how to do writing. Conspicuously absent has been a guide to mathematics writing for college students. I am pleased to offer such a book.... I am not writing for every undergraduate who takes mathematics. I am writing for those who want to learn mathematical style. These are likely to be majors, or prospective majors, or students who will go into other quantitative fields and expect to communicate with mathematics in their careers.


Email: smaurer1@swarthmore.edu
Last updated: 9/23/10