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mbk-tao-cov_0001The AMS has just notified me that the book version of the first year of my blog, now retitled “Structure and Randomness: pages from year one of a mathematical blog“, is now available.  An official web page for this book has also been set up here, though it is fairly empty at present.  A (2MB) high-resolution PDF file of the cover can be found here.

I plan to start on converting this year’s blog posts to book form in January, and hopefully the process should be a little faster this time.  Given that my lecture notes on ergodic theory and on the Poincaré conjecture will form the bulk of that book, I have chosen the working title for that book to be “Poincaré’s legacies: pages from year two of a mathematical blog“.

As readers of this blog have no doubt noted, there has been a significant online response and discussion to the campaign to support mathematics at the University of Southern Queensland – thank you all, by the way, for your show of support on this matter! As many commenters noted, the issues here are not purely localised to USQ, but also touch on systemic issues regarding the funding, culture, and support for the university, and for mathematics and related sciences, in Australia.

Because of the level of interest in discussing these matters online, I (together with others in the Australian mathematical community) have begin a dedicated blog to these matters, entitled “Mathematics in Australia“. This blog will report on current events in Australian mathematics in general (ranging from education issues, to government policy, to mathematical activities and events, to crises such as those at USQ), be a repository for various reports, media articles, links, etc. relating to Australian mathematics, and be a forum for online discussion on these topics.

Currently, the new blog only has a handful of articles, including an update on the latest situation with the USQ crisis, but there should be several more articles (from various authors) coming in shortly (including one involving a situation at the University of New England, which unfortunately shares some features in common with that at USQ). It is intended that there be a lively discussion of these topics, so if you have an interest in these issues, please don’t hesitate to participate. (In particular, if you have some news or information on Australian mathematics to share on that blog, or perhaps a suggestion for a future discussion topic, you can email me about it.)

A few months ago, I announced that I was going to convert a significant fraction of my 2007 blog posts into a book format. For various reasons, this conversion took a little longer than I had anticipated, but I have finally completed a draft copy of this book, which I have uploaded here; note that this is a moderately large file (1.5MB 1.3MB 1.1MB), as the book is 374 pages 287 pages 270 pages long. There are still several formatting issues to resolve, but the content has all been converted.

It may be a while before I hear back from the editors at the American Mathematical Society as to the status of the book project, but in the meantime any comments on the book, ranging from typos to suggestions as to the format, are of course welcome.

[Update, April 21: New version uploaded, incorporating contributed corrections. The formatting has been changed for the internet version to significantly reduce the number of pages. As a consequence, note that the page numbering for the internet version of the book will differ substantially from that in the print version.]

[Update, April 21: As some readers may have noticed, I have placed paraphrased versions of some of the blog comments in the book, using the handles given in the blog comments to identify the authors. If any such commenters wish to change one’s handle (e.g. to one’s full name) or to otherwise modify or remove any comments I have placed in the book, you are welcome to contact me by email to do so.]

[Update, April 23: Another new version uploaded, incorporating contributed corrections and shrinking the page size a little further.]

[Update, May 8: A few additional corrections to the book.]

It’s now been almost a year since I moved my “What’s new?” page from my home page to this blog. Since then, I’ve been quite happy with the directions this blog has been headed in (most of which I had not anticipated when I started), and also with the level of feedback, some of which has been extremely informative to me (and, I hope, to other readers as well).

Anyway, after discussing things with some of my friends and colleagues, I have decided to convert some of the posts here from 2007 into a book format, in order to place some of the mathematical content here in a more formal and traditional context (with accurate citations and references, etc.). After some thought, I decided not to transcribe all of my posts from last year (there are 93 of them!), but instead to restrict attention to those articles which (a) have significant mathematical content, (b) are not announcements of material that will be published elsewhere, and (c) are not primarily based on a talk given by someone else. As it turns out, this still leaves about 33 articles from 2007, leading to a decent-sized book of a couple hundred pages in length. For various reasons (including legal reasons), I have decided not to incorporate the comments to each post directly into the book format, although corrections, mention of relevant references, etc. will be added with acknowledgments in the endnotes to each article.

I’ve converted a couple articles into a book format, and also created a table of contents, to see what it would look like. (The format comes from the American Mathematical Society, with whom I am planning to publish the book.) It looks like it will be relatively straightforward to convert the rest (at least compared to writing books from scratch, which I know from experience to be quite time-consuming!). I’ll of course post updates here on this blog when the book is closer to completion.

At present, the structure and content of the book is still rather flexible; like all things related to this blog, it is an experiment. As such, I am open to suggestions on these matters. (For instance, I do not have any particularly imaginative title for the book, other than “What’s new – 2007”. )