Mathematics has often been called the "Queen of Science". Recently, scientists, politicians and managers emphasize the slogan: "High technology is always a mathematical technology." But this economic importance of mathematics seems not to correlate to its public attention. Mathematics is a rare topic among newspaper articles, which is a fact that mathematicians are complaining about. Writing about mathematics for the mass media has its own rules. Here, a linguistic study of more than 200 articles about mathematics is presented. Mathematics is based on abstraction, and therefore mathematical achievements are difficult to grasp for laypersons. In addition, there are several linguistic aspects of mathematics which should not appear in newspaper articles: its symbolic formulas, the terms, that get their meaning by rigid definitions, and the proofs built only on logical arguments. But there are strategies of how to write articles about mathematics. I will discuss mathematical topics that actually appear in the mass media. These topics mostly belong to applied mathematics. However, in order to be able to present more mathematics, especially more of its pure branches, having a knowledge of the linguistic conditions of writing about mathematics is necessary.

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Writing about mathematics

Vasco Alexander Schmidt  

Mathematics has often been called the "Queen of Science". Recently, scientists, politicians and managers emphasize the slogan: "High technology is always a mathematical technology." But this economic importance of mathematics seems not to correlate to its public attention. Mathematics is a rare topic among newspaper articles, which is a fact that mathematicians are complaining about. Writing about mathematics for the mass media has its own rules. Here, a linguistic study of more than 200 articles about mathematics is presented. Mathematics is based on abstraction, and therefore mathematical achievements are difficult to grasp for laypersons. In addition, there are several linguistic aspects of mathematics which should not appear in newspaper articles: its symbolic formulas, the terms, that get their meaning by rigid definitions, and the proofs built only on logical arguments. But there are strategies of how to write articles about mathematics. I will discuss mathematical topics that actually appear in the mass media. These topics mostly belong to applied mathematics. However, in order to be able to present more mathematics, especially more of its pure branches, having a knowledge of the linguistic conditions of writing about mathematics is necessary.

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