Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Ian Underwood

August, 2000

From: Ian Underwood 
To: All Dr. Math Doctors
Subject: Dr. Math in August

Hi Math Doctors,

I just finished compiling the statistics for August, and they look
like this:

  Questions asked:        3935
  Questions answered:     1812
  Percent answered:       46.0%

So we're answering about as many questions as we were at the end of
the previous school year.

On the other hand, the number of questions per day more than doubled
between the beginning and end of August, to about 250 questions per
day, or about 7500 questions per month.  Which is a terrific vote of
confidence from math students and teachers all over the world... and a
reminder that summer vacation is over!

New doctors

We have more than a dozen new recruits who will begin the tenuring
process during the next week.

During the early stages of their training, these 'interns' will be
focusing on finding and responding to questions for which answers
already exist in the archive.  This will give them a chance to become
familiar with the archives, while at the same time increasing the
density of 'interesting' (which is to say, unusual) questions in the
triage listing.

'New' resources

Remember how NBC used to advertise their summer re-runs?  "If you
haven't seen it, it's new to you!"

It's tempting to rely only on the Dr. Math archives and FAQ when
answering questions, but the Math Forum has collected together a
wealth of online resources that shouldn't be overlooked.  For example,

contains an ever-growing number of 'web units', which can be just the
thing for those students who have very general questions (e.g., "How
do graphs work?") that seem impossible to answer in a single email message. 

I encourage everyone to take an occasional break from the Doctor's
Office to look around the rest of the Math Forum, to say nothing of
the rest of the Internet.  And don't be shy about sharing what you
find!  If you come across a resource or a search technique that you
find yourself using again and again, let the rest of us know about it
by starting a thread in the Doctor's Talk area,

Behind the scenes

We've made some internal changes to the software -- nothing that
you'll see reflected yet in the interface, but they should make it
easier to implement some of the suggestions that were offered in the
discussion on 'improving the math doctor experience' at

I want to thank those doctors who have participated in this
discussion, and invite those who haven't to come share their thoughts.

And that's all the news for this month.  Go forth, be fruitful, and
teach kids to multiply... and divide... and exponentiate... and so on!

Dr. Ian
Attending Physician
Ask Dr. Math