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An Introduction to the Public Understanding
of Mathematics
The public thinks that we contemplate ancient proofs made by persons in togas, and doesn't realize that if the stock market grew as fast as new mathematics we'd all be rich (well, we are, mathematically). The public thinks of lonely recluses in garrets and doesn't realize that for many, mathematics is an intensely social occupation, with hours spent each day talking to colleagues (mostly about mathematics, it's true), and many jaunts to meetings to talk with even more colleagues. It's important that the public understand us and the importance of what we do in this time of shrinking academic dollars and bulging overproduction of academics. We've not done a good job of letting the world know that we teach mathematics to scientists better than scientists teach mathematics to scientists. And it's crucial that we communicate to young people both the pleasures and the stresses of being a mathematician, that we have an exciting and lively discipline and culture, and that we actively try to deal with the job crunch (which is pretty much academiawide).
 Gene Klotz, CoDirector, The Math Forum

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