Archives for Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 2011 (11)
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Euclid and continued fractions

Back in my days at Kings College, there was a movement to try and make sure that we mathematics students could write. There was a general worry that because we expressed ourselves tersely and symbolically in the language of mathematics we would forget how to express ourselves correctly in the language of English. So, while I was there, we had to write two essays, one at the end of our first year and one at the end of the second. The essays should be on a mathematical subject, maybe even with a proof or two, but it had to be preponderantly a narrative. (If you think about it, this is the same worry that developers might not be able to express themselves clearly and concisely to their users, which is why there’s so much emphasis on “written and verbal communication” in job descriptions.) […]