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    (Could we make this sticky? It was on page 3 and I had a hard time finding the post --before the penny dropped that I could search for "success".)

    Anyway, I just wanted to mention that at Warwick on Monday after a lecture I gave to their undergrad Maths Society, I was told that they've started inviting UK MOers to give talks this year. I think of this a success story for MO!

    • CommentAuthoran_mo_user
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2011
    For archival purposes also added here:

    In the official description of the work of Milnor, written on the occassion of his winning of the Abel prize by Gowers, a comment made on Mathoverflow is mentioned (top of page 2), text here

    The reference is (I believe) to the comment of Pierre to the answer of Tom Goddwillie answer on this question

    Thanks for making it sticky!

    I'm not normally one to toot my own horn, but this article would never have happened if it wasn't for Math Overflow. (See the acknowledgements at the lower left corner of page 1)

    Spiro: I'm glad you did turn this into a What is...?. Your answer is one of the most informative answers in MO to this day, in my opinion.

    Thanks, José.
    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2011

    More publicity than a success story: the item I mentioned (about suggesting as a guideline for developing Internet-enabled systems to aid in metrics for research) has come out in print. The ICM 2010 proceedings Volume I arrived at my porch today with John Ball's article starting on p. 739. is not mentioned until near the very end. Prof. Ball's transcription is a good representation of the event, and the issue itself is something that I think this community can favorably affect, even if only in an indirect fashion.

    Gerhard "Ask Me About System Design" Paseman, 2011.05.10


    The Simons Foundation has just published an article about MathOverflow.


    Looks good! I would have appreciated slightly less emphasis on the reputation system, but I guess that is a relatively prominent feature of the site.


    An article by Kelly Davis grew out of a MathOverflow question, and cites it.

    • CommentAuthorWill Jagy
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011

    Here is a paper by Andrew V. Sills and Doron Zeilberger,

    which mentions:

    (See also the accompanying meta thread for the long history of this post.)

    Thanks joro for pointing this out.


    Not exactly a success story, but, FYI, in my lecture yesterday at MSRI I cited MO twice; once for a question by Denis Serre

    and once for my question about norms of commutators


    Not exactly a success story, but outsider interest in MO. I gave a short presentation about MO at the Open Science Summit over the weekend. Twittery about it here. My slides are here (I mostly talked, so the slides are pretty boring; there's video somewhere, but I haven't found it yet ... there's non-video here). [Edit: video here]

    The summit was great fun. I talked a lot to Richard Price (who is behind and the folks behind ScienceExchange.

    I didn't have business cards to hand out, but I couldn't give a good explanation of why not. For some reason, mathematicians don't exchange business cards as much as other people do.

    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2011

    The real explanation (from this viewpoint) is that you and the other moderators are enjoying your informal status; the socially acceptable explanation is that the cards haven't come back from the printers yet. (Why they haven't gone to the printers is a followup question you have to prepare for, which given your recent move south should not be a problem; in most social situations, that does not come up.)

    If you are interested in how to handle similar issues, let me know; you can contact me via my more recent email address which Scott Morrison should still have.

    Congratulations on your presentation.

    Gerhard "Ask Me About System Design" Paseman, 2011.10.24


    (btw, beamer has a "handout" mode, which amongst other things supresses pauses. When you post slides online, best to use something like this.)


    Thanks Scott. I didn't know about that. handout slides


    The real explanation (from this viewpoint) is that you and the other moderators are enjoying your informal status

    I don't think this is quite right; the culture of mathematics as I've experienced it has no place for business cards. I would seriously weirded out if a mathematician gave me their business card in almost any context (I don't get business cards from non-mathematicians much either). It's even weirder than wearing a suit (which of course a reasonable number of mathematicians do with some regularity; it's just that rest of us regard this eccentric behavior on their part).


    Well, I only wear a suit (or at least a shirt and tie) and have business cards because I work for a company, not a university. I promise not to give you my card, Ben, if I ever meet you in person

    • CommentAuthorWill Jagy
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2011
    I once went to a conference at U. C. Irvine on financial mathematics. Everybody had cards, I had cut out rectangles from checking account deposit tickets that had my name and address, I gave those when asked. There was merriment.
    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2011 edited

    To both counter and support Ben's point, I relate the following: I noticed a local university's department having a picnic, and I went over to say hi to a fellow former graduate student. He offered me his business card, which I glanced at. (So there, Ben!) I then said (something like) "So they are calling you a mathemathician now? What's that like?" He did a double take, and I handed his card back to him, noting the typo on it. He laughed and said he hadn't noticed that before.

    I didn't ask him how long he had had the cards or how many he had given out.

    Also, I think Anton and the MathOverflow founders have become ambassadors between academia and some new variety of social networking, except they are smart enough to focus on doing the narrow task (operating the forum) well, and putting the ambassadorial and other tasks on the back burner ( or at least making many of them much less visible to some of us ). I think they are becoming part of a culture that involves things much more alien to academics than business cards.

    Gerhard "Prefers Handing Out Business Pens" Paseman, 2011.11.11


    The university had business cards made for me when I was hired. Each card has Japanese on one side, and English on the other.


    @Scott: Same thing happened to me and I was only on sabbatical at the IPMU for 8 months. Alas, I had no opportunity to use the cards and I still have a boxful of them. Only once did they serve some purpose: at the Keisei line station of Narita airport after meeting a visitor who had just arrived in Japan, two police officers stopped us and asked for our IDs and contact details. I had a residence card, but the visitor didn't. They asked him for his phone number at work, but he didn't know. So I handed one of my cards to the police officer and told him that we worked together and that he could call me. The card made quite a positive impression to the police officer and the nature of the interaction changed drastically from that moment on.

    Not exactly "success" in that the question is still open, but inspired some nice mathematics in my Master student Tommy Chartier's thesis, a copy of which can be found here:
    @Scott Although I am not too comfortable about MO being a collaborative "blog"... :)

    The MO question

    is referenced in this paper by Ozawa, Schechtman and me on the arXiv.

    Here is a success story:

    Murri's paper cites the MO question, as well.
    My co-author P.-N. Jolissaint and I, we acknowledge one question from MO in our paper

    At the same time, being from the pre-Internet era I express some doubts about MO on:

    The paper "Parallelogram tilings, Worms and Finite Orientations" arXiv:1202.4686v1 math.DS, by Dirk Frettlöh and Edmund Harriss, cites [Spe]:

    [Spe] David Speyer (, Rhombus tilings with more than three directions, MathOverflow, (version: 2011-11-09).


    Steve Flammia's question, Are two probability distributions uniquely constrained by the sum of their p-norms?, is now answered in a paper by Greg Kuperberg in the American Mathematical Monthly, now cited at the end of his answer.


    An important partial result towards Bob Koca's question about neutral tic-tac-toe is now a preprint by Plambeck and Whitehead.


    Joel David Hamkins talked about MathOverflow in a recent interview for 3:AM Magazine.


    MathOverflow mentioned in Nature!


    JDH has a paper with Cole Leahy which came from the former's answer to the latter's question, see here