If math matters to science, we wouldn’t know it from scientists’ behaviour
|June 26, 2012||Posted by News under Mathematics, News|
From “Scientists Struggle With Mathematical Details, Study by Biologists Finds” (ScienceDaily, June 25, 2012), we learn:
Scientists would like to believe that the popularity of new theories depends entirely on their scientific value, in terms of novelty, importance and technical correctness. But the Bristol study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, shows that scientists pay less attention to theories that are crammed with mathematical details.
Dr Tim Fawcett and Dr Andrew Higginson, researchers in Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, found that scientific articles presenting many equations on each page are seldom referred to by other scientists. The most maths-heavy articles are referenced 50 per cent less often than those with little or no maths.
Various solutions are suggested, including moving the equations to an online appendix.