How Can a Web-App Make Theoretical Physics and Mathematics More Accessible?

In summary, the conversation discusses the idea of creating a web-app to make landmark papers in theoretical physics and mathematics more accessible to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as science communicators and enthusiasts. The app would allow users to recognize and denote conceptual links between papers and publish explanatory articles. The project would also need to incorporate credit attribution and source tracking features, as well as interface smoothly with relevant background work. One suggestion for implementing this idea is to look at Obsidian, a notetaking app that allows users to build a personal wiki of their collected notes.
  • #1
Couchyam
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TL;DR Summary
Seeking input/contributors: web-app to help beginning researchers/students and science communicators
In short, I'm interested in working on a web-app to make landmark papers in theoretical physics and mathematics more broadly accessible, especially to undergraduate and graduate students who are looking to catch up to modern topics (without sacrificing rigor or exactness of understanding), and science communicators/enthusiasts who may wish to represent science more accurately.

I'm open to ideas for how the program could function on a basic level, but the idea so far is to allow users to recognize and denote precise conceptual links and stronger interdependencies between papers that create "learning pathways" (something like a prerequisite tree) for interested readers, and to publish explanatory articles that either focus on specific papers/results, or on a coherent thread or trend of ideas across several papers. The explanatory work could range in formality from casual notes or back-of-the-envelope classroom examples to preprints intended for major publication. The project would probably need to incorporate (and facilitate) relatively stringent credit attribution and source tracking features (e.g. mandatory bibliographies, reminders to validate input with appropriate citations, etc.), and a way to interface smoothly and directly with relevant background work (e.g. arXiv preprints, other expository articles in pdf format, etc.). It might also be interesting if the program could keep track of a variety of relationships between papers (e.g. a somewhat large citation network, together with smaller and more specific annotated networks of conceptual interdependencies.)
 
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  • #2
Thread is in Moderation briefly for review...
 
  • #3
Thread is approved for now. Best wishes to you on this useful project. :smile:
 
  • #4
How do you plan to get around the fact that "landmark papers" are written for other physicists and not a general audience?
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50 said:
How do you plan to get around the fact that "landmark papers" are written for other physicists and not a general audience?
On bad days I find myself thinking that being a PF mentor is a Sisyphean exercise in yelling at general audience naifs suckered by pop-sci stuff written for that general audience.

"Undergraduate and graduate students who are looking to catch up to modern topics (without sacrificing rigor or exactness of understanding), and science communicators/e nthusiasts who may wish to represent science more accurately" is an appreciably higher bar than that "general audience". They're already self-selected for knowing that there's more to learn.
 
  • #6
One app to check out is Obsidian. Its a notetaking app that can import various documents. Notes are written in markdown format which can be viewed and edited by any text editor.

In a nutshell, Obsidan allows you to build a personal wiki of your collected notes where you can add cross links and tags ...

It seems Obsidian has done some of the work your app needs to do and so it could be a goto source for ideas or even as a basis for implementation of your proposed app.

https://obsidian.md

more about Obsidain on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian_(software)
 
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