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Do Maths Journals not seriously consider papers by engineering students?

  1. Sep 24, 2015 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm a computer science student who has a lot of interest in Maths. Whenever I ask a problem to this Maths teacher of mine, he always asks if I have any application for it or am just asking from the mathematical point of view. Usually, it's the latter. Then he tells me that I should find some application for it because the Maths community will not take me seriously and throw the paper into the dustbin without reading it.

    So, is this true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2015 #2


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    I'm having trouble following. Your thread title talks about submitting papers (presumably for publication), but the text of your thread talks about "ask[ing] a problem to this Maths teacher of mine ..." It's not clear what one has to do with t'other.
  4. Sep 24, 2015 #3
    He teaches us a Maths subject but he belongs to the computer science department and is a computer science grad who did a Phd in Maths. Whenever I ask a problem to him, he says that I shouldn't focus on the pure mathematical aspect of it and think about it only after finding an application. Even if I do find a solution, no Maths journal will publish it. So, it's better to find an application of the problem, solve the application and then send that to a computer science journal.

    I was wondering if what he's saying is true.
  5. Sep 24, 2015 #4

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    Why do you think a question you ask your teacher belongs in a journal?
  6. Sep 24, 2015 #5


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    Which math journals do you read regularly? :smile:
  7. Sep 24, 2015 #6
    I don't necissarily think it belongs in a journal. But many of those questions could open doors to further research and the standard response I get is that there's no point in thinking about it because even if you did manage to write a paper, nobody would publish it. I honestly don't ask him from the angle of wanting to write a paper.. Just the point of view of wanting to know the answer to an interesting questions. But, he always says I should change my thought process and only then answers the question. Basically he says that I'm thinking more like a mathematician and not like a computer scientist. So, I was wondering if what he is saying is true.

    Honestly, the idea of journals is a bit new to me. I didn't know what a journal looks like before the semester began and have very little idea about them. I read the old versions of Fibonacci Quarterly which are available on the internet for free but not much else.
  8. Sep 25, 2015 #7


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    This thread is VERY difficult to follow, mainly because, as has been stated, it has NOTHING to do with a "maths journal", really. It has everything to do with your interaction with this "maths teacher", and we only have your side of what is going on. And frankly, from the confusing way that you have described this whole thing, I find it very difficult to believe that you have described this accurately and completely.

    First of all, is this "maths teacher" teaching you a course right now? And are the problems and questions that you are trying to solve within the subject area of this course, or are they OUTSIDE of the scope of the course? If it is the latter, then do you think he/she has the time to deal with a topic that you are doing solely for your own curiosity?

  9. Sep 26, 2015 #8


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    From what I'm gathering, OP is approaching a math professor with a question from pure mathematics that's not necessarily related to the subject matter of the course. The professor seems to be suggesting that pursuing these questions from the standpoint of pure mathematics is fruitless, and that if OP tries to tackle these problems they wouldn't be seriously considered by a mathematics journal, assuming that OP tried to publish a paper. I don't believe they're actually proposing this, but rather the professor was simply speaking of a hypothetical scenario.

    I don't think this is a very reasonable response on the part of the professor. Although the more applied aspects of mathematics are obviously more directly relevant to computer science, there is considerable overlap with pure mathematics as well. If you have an interest in pure mathematics, pursue it more deeply. Is there perhaps another professor that you could approach with your question?

    As to your thread title, engineers have certainly published in math journals. However, most engineers don't really work with the type of mathematics that is most frequently published in math journals.
  10. Sep 26, 2015 #9
    Thanks for articulating what I was trying to say, Quantum Curt. I like Maths a lot. I didn't know there was a thing called journals till I entered college after 12th and finished tenth with the happy illusion that all of maths is already known! I didn't like Maths much in school. It was only when I started pursuing it on my own by reading every book that I could get my hands on.

    Unfortunately, the quality of teachers is very bad here. He is the only professor who gives a vague idea about how to approach a problem that I ask. The other Maths teachers respond by telling me that it is not a "standard question", meaning it won't be asked in the exam. I was actually very impressed because this is the only teacher who knew what Goldbach's conjecture was. I know it sounds very bad but most of the other teachers have never heard that name before.

    (I'm not trying to solve anything as complicated as Goldbach's conjecture. I just like chatting about recent developments in the mathematical world.)

    I am studying hard to get into a graduate program where I can preferably combine and pursue my mathematical interests with computer science.

    A couple of months back I did some research on Fibonacci numbers. It's not anything great but it's the first time I found something on my own, rather than learnt it. The paper hasn't been written yet because I am having trouble learning LatEx.

    At any rate, the story with the professor is just the backstory explaining how the question came into my mind. So, for example if I wrote a paper on Fibonacci numbers, would it be rejected without being read, or read dismissively, just because it's from an enginner?
  11. Sep 26, 2015 #10
    No, not just because of that. It will be rejected probably because it's not new (which is very likely).
  12. Sep 27, 2015 #11


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    There has been a lot written about the Fibonacci numbers already, and odds are that you aren't thinking of anything that hasn't already been written. I'd suggest doing some research to find out if what you're thinking has already been done.
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