Maths Hatred Wish Fulfillment

Gad, not only is it week out but it is decidedly WARM! I choose that latter term since it has a more subjective connotation than hot and minimizes my aversion to the boggery (and almost all of the geekery) engaging in the nonsense that is cold. In effect, hot and cold have become subjective attributes that are grating to anyone who knows a modicum of physics and has a revulsion for boggish word perversions. If you express all temperatures, as they should be, in an absolute scale, such as Kelvin or Rankine (?) degrees, the difference between winter and summer is not that great, 273 versus 323 (approximately.)

That being said, griping about subjective heat quantities is about all the relief that is about and one has to amuse oneself by reminding of Great Uncle George’s admonition that if you lead a horse to water, and the horse refusing to drink you opt for killing it, you still have to do something with the corpus lest the water revenooers come after you. All constabulary were revenooers to George, largely because of his hobby of distilling spirits for relief from the tedium, life, and the bogs. This same applies to bogs who say stupid things about heat and do it with appalling uniformity among the population.

Speaking of appalling, I noted some work down at U Bristol that indicates that STEM journal articles are cited inversely with the amount of maths. [Link] This was reviewed in Scientific American and happily they did only a minor amount of foot in mouth gymnastics. The conclusion was that STEMs don’t like maths any more than the no-algebra-after-high-shule bogs. I fear I find the conclusion specious. First of all, they failed to distinguish among disciplines. Some disciplines are populated by folks who dislike or cannot do maths. Biology, for example. It is well known that biologishs, and physicians, have to hire statisticians to run their stats for them and tell them what they have done. And then the statisticians get abused and ignored. One of the contemporary forms of slavery, I suppose.

Id we look at the disciplines that actually use maths, engineering and the physical sciences, then these disciplines are divided into two populations. In physics, the two are experimentalists and theoreticians. The names are sometimes different in the other disciplines, but the distinction of people who use maths to construct theory, and people who conduct experiments in labs is the same. The point is that, in the main, the theoreticians primarily read other theoreticians papers, and the experimentalists primarily read other experimentalists papers. Theoreticians’ papers are full of maths; experimentalists’ papers have relatively little maths. And in all instances experimentalists are greater in number than theoreticians. So the paper’s conclusions look like nothing more than a reflection of demographics and not about maths literacy.

Now, many experimentalists are not as adept at maths as are theoreticians. And theoreticians are notoriously klutzy at using tools and machines. I have known theoreticians who had to have three computers so that they would always have one working while the other two cycled through the IT support chain getting fixed. These folks had a computational black thumb. But that is somewhat to be expected with theoreticians.

But experimentalists do not talk much in maths because that is not what they are interested in. They are interested in machines, and technique and experimental results – data. They generally differ from biologists, and physicians, in either doing their own analysis or having a symbiotic relationship with a theoretician who help with their analysis and suggests new experiments. IT needs be emphasized that the relationship is symbiotic rather than parasitic.

There tend to be a somewhat disproportionate number of theoretical papers since theoreticians, while fewer in number, do not have to spend lots of time getting machines to work. Nonetheless, there are more experimental papers, with few maths, than theoretical papers, with lots of maths. And the preponderance of citations are of experimental papers by experimentalists and theoretical papers by theoreticians. The crossing ratio is order 1:10. So to first order, experimental papers, with few maths, have considerably more citations than theoretical papers, with lots of maths, and hence the findings of the article.

Not a result of maths hatred. However much thebogs may want to continue their no-algebra-after-high-shule propaganda. We do wish they would stick to something less obnoxious, like that Jews are the root of all society’s ills.