Notices
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Maths in scientific papers

  1. #1 Maths in scientific papers 
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering whether the maths in scientific papers were done by the scientists or with the help of softwares. Are they checked rigorously by the reviewers?

    I read that most scientist don't check the maths of scientific papers published by others. How often does it happen that maths errors make it through the reviewing process and are discovered much later?

    Nic.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,373
    As an author I always check the maths in my papers, as a reviewer rigorously checking EVERYTHING (including the maths) is the whole point, if we didn't do the job properly we would be taken off the list of reviewers (editors are not stupid). In my whole career I have only found a few examples of errors after publication and these were typos, the maths was solid but occasionally typos fall through the gaps. Where did you read most scientists don't check the maths? I've never met one who doesn't...


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Honestly I don't remenber where I read that. I also read that the proportion of scientific papers with errors which end up being retracted has increased in the past decade or so.

    I heard that scientists use mathematics softwares for their math, is that widespread nowadays? Are these softwares used for checking only, or for producing the whole mathematical demonstration?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    4,309
    I almost certainly heard that there was a proof that could not be checked manually ( one of the very well known recently solved mathematical problems I think) .
    Last edited by geordief; September 28th, 2014 at 05:52 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    5,373
    I've never used software to develop maths I still use a pen and a pad (I'm old school that way and the level of maths I use day to day is not too tricky), in my work software may be used to carry out calculations (normally tine consuming, boring repetitive ones) but the underlying maths is always checked "by hand". The number of papers being retracted may have increased (I don't know the numbers). It may be down to an increased willingness of some scientists to submit rushed/sub-standard work in this modern "publish or perish" environment in academia but that is not just down to the maths, that would be across the board...)
    Last edited by PhDemon; September 28th, 2014 at 10:09 AM. Reason: re-reading post I replied to realised part of my response was irrelevant so deleted it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    1,774
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering whether the maths in scientific papers were done by the scientists or with the help of softwares. Are they checked rigorously by the reviewers?

    I read that most scientist don't check the maths of scientific papers published by others. How often does it happen that maths errors make it through the reviewing process and are discovered much later?

    Nic.
    The math in my papers is done in hand. I use Wolfram's Mathematica to double check it. The reason for retractions is that the physics part (not the math) is wrong, in other words math was missapplied.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Near Philadelphia
    Posts
    10
    On a side note, I heard from a mathematical physicist that checking stuff by hand is the way to go. According to him, numerical methods are like sausages; everything's fine until you find out what went into them.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandalwood View Post
    On a side note, I heard from a mathematical physicist that checking stuff by hand is the way to go. According to him, numerical methods are like sausages; everything's fine until you find out what went into them.
    I have never heard of the term 'mathematical physicist', what is it? Is it a type of physicists specialized in checking the maths in the articles?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Roark View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering whether the maths in scientific papers were done by the scientists or with the help of softwares. Are they checked rigorously by the reviewers?

    I read that most scientist don't check the maths of scientific papers published by others. How often does it happen that maths errors make it through the reviewing process and are discovered much later?

    Nic.
    The math in my papers is done in hand. I use Wolfram's Mathematica to double check it. The reason for retractions is that the physics part (not the math) is wrong, in other words math was missapplied.
    I guess it can be a good tool to help scientists spare time when they publish.

    I have also noted that usually scientific articles have several authors. When you write an article with someone else, do each of you check each other's maths?

    I imagine that when scientists publish, they puts their reputation on the line, they must be rather paranoid about maths errors.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I've never used software to develop maths I still use a pen and a pad (I'm old school that way and the level of maths I use day to day is not too tricky), in my work software may be used to carry out calculations (normally tine consuming, boring repetitive ones) but the underlying maths is always checked "by hand".
    I guess that doing it yourself helps you keep in mind all the little details of your demonstration. Doing math also probably helps with rigor and logic, which is important for a scientist. So using these softwares can become a double-edged sword.


    The number of papers being retracted may have increased (I don't know the numbers). It may be down to an increased willingness of some scientists to submit rushed/sub-standard work in this modern "publish or perish" environment in academia but that is not just down to the maths, that would be across the board...)
    It is often said from what I have heard that there is a lot of pressue to publish and there are more and more mistakes in publications ( more so in biology I believe ). When non scientists hear that they can become a bit scared that science is not as rigorous as it used to be. From what you say, I get the impression that the quality is still there for the most part.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Near Philadelphia
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    I have never heard of the term 'mathematical physicist', what is it? Is it a type of physicists specialized in checking the maths in the articles?
    No. Mathematical physics is a branch of physics that deals with the development of mathematical methods that can be used to solve physics problems and develop theories.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    I almost certainly heard that there was a proof that could not be checked manually ( one of the very well known recently solved mathematical problems I think) .
    I don't really know but I imagine that software programs can be very good at maths, even better than humans, because mathematics is all about logic.

    I remember reading an article about a scientific theory which had been done completely by a computer. It was simple but still.

    What will advanced IAs be capable of in 20 years, will they help scientific research significantly, let's hope so.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandalwood View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    I have never heard of the term 'mathematical physicist', what is it? Is it a type of physicists specialized in checking the maths in the articles?
    No. Mathematical physics is a branch of physics that deals with the development of mathematical methods that can be used to solve physics problems and develop theories.
    Ok. Is it more used for theoretical physics or any type of problem?

    I heard string theory is very hard mathematically and not many physicists can really work in that area of research.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Near Philadelphia
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    Ok. Is it more used for theoretical physics or any type of problem?
    It can be used for anything, but when I learned it, it was used mostly for quantum mechanics and quantum field theory.

    I heard string theory is very hard mathematically and not many physicists can really work in that area of research.
    I don't know much about string theory, but that's what I heard as well.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    203
    It can be used for anything, but when I learned it, it was used mostly for quantum mechanics and quantum field theory.
    Ouch it must be really tough.


    I don't know much about string theory, but that's what I heard as well.
    I heard Ed Witten is very good in maths. The theory was kind of stuck in the mid-90s and he helped it move forward with his mathematical skills.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Near Philadelphia
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nic321 View Post
    Ouch it must be really tough.
    It is, but it's by far the most useful thing I've ever learned.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Help with further maths:
    By JNickson in forum Mathematics
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 6th, 2012, 05:05 PM
  2. Wanting various data in scientific papers
    By Eagle9 in forum Physics
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 15th, 2011, 11:03 AM
  3. maths is best
    By sahiljart30@gmail.com in forum Mathematics
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: July 3rd, 2011, 10:58 PM
  4. scientific wording V scientific equations
    By streamSystems in forum Personal Theories & Alternative Ideas
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: October 6th, 2007, 01:50 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •