From Proofs to Prime Numbers: Math Blogs on WordPress.com

WordPress.com supports LaTeX, a document markup language for the TeX typesetting system, which is used widely in academia as a way to format mathematical formulas and equations. LaTeX makes it easier for math and computer science bloggers and other academics in our community to publish their work and write about topics they care about.

If you’re a math genius — many of you are! — and you’ve blogged about equations you’ve worked on, you’ve probably used LaTeX before. If you’re just starting out (or simply curious to see how it all works), we’ve gathered a few examples of great math and computing blogs on WordPress.com that will inspire you.

In general, to display formulas and equations, you place LaTeX code in between $latex and $, like this:

$latex YOUR LATEX CODE HERE$

So for example, inserting this when you’re creating a post . . .

$latex i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\left|\Psi(t)\right>=H\left|\Psi(t)\right>$

. . . will display this on your site:

i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\left|\Psi(t)\right>=H\left|\Psi(t)\right>

Nifty, huh? Learning LaTeX is like learning a new language, and the bloggers below show just how much you can do. And if you’re not a math whiz, don’t worry! You’re not expected to understand the snippets below, but we hope they show what’s possible.

Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP

Suppose Alice gives Bob two boxes labelled respectively {X} and {Y}. Box {X} contains some positive integer {x}, and as you might guess, box {Y} contains some positive integer {y}. Bob cannot open either box to see what integer it holds. Bob can shake the boxes, or hold them up to a bright light, but there is no way he can discover what they contain.

This blog, on P=NP and other questions in the theory of computing, presents the work of Dick Lipton at Georgia Tech and Ken Regan at the University at Buffalo. One of their main goals is to pull back the curtain so readers can understand how research works and who is behind it.

From the recent post “Move the Cheese” to an older piece on “Navigating Cities and Understanding Proofs,” they present problems and sketch solutions, and publish thorough and thoughtful discussions that not only talk about interesting open problems, but offer context and history.

You can see LaTex in action in the example above, from the recent post “Euclid Strikes Back.”

Math ∩ Programming

Note that we will have another method to determine the necessary coefficients later, so we can effectively ignore how these coefficients change. Next, we note the following elementary identities from complex analysis:

\displaystyle \cos(2 \pi k t) = \frac{e^{2 \pi i k t} + e^{-2 \pi i k t}}{2}
\displaystyle \sin(2 \pi k t) = \frac{e^{2 \pi i k t} - e^{-2 \pi i k t}}{2i}

Jeremy Kun, a mathematics PhD student at the University of Illinois in Chicago, explores deeper mathematical ideas and interesting solutions to programming problems. Math ∩ Programming is both a blog and portfolio, and well-organized: you can use the left-side menu to navigate Jeremy’s sections, from Primers to the Proof Gallery. The site is also clean and well-presented — can you believe he uses the Confit theme, which was originally created for restaurant sites?

The snippet above illustrates more you can do with LaTeX, taken from “The Fourier Series — A Primer.”

Terence Tao

Definition 1 (Multiple dense divisibility) Let {y \geq 1}. For each natural number {k \geq 0}, we define a notion of {k}-tuply {y}-dense divisibility recursively as follows:

  • Every natural number {n} is {0}-tuply {y}-densely divisible.
  • If {k \geq 1} and {n} is a natural number, we say that {n} is {k}-tuply {y}-densely divisible if, whenever {i,j \geq 0} are natural numbers with {i+j=k-1}, and {1 \leq R \leq n}, one can find a factorisation {n = qr} with {y^{-1} R \leq r \leq R} such that {q} is {i}-tuply {y}-densely divisible and {r} is {j}-tuply {y}-densely divisible.

We let {{\mathcal D}^{(k)}_y} denote the set of {k}-tuply {y}-densely divisible numbers. We abbreviate “{1}-tuply densely divisible” as “densely divisible”, “{2}-tuply densely divisible” as “doubly densely divisible”, and so forth; we also abbreviate {{\mathcal D}^{(1)}_y} as {{\mathcal D}_y}.

Mathematician, UCLA faculty member, and Fields Medal recipient Terence Tao uses his WordPress.com site to present research updates and lecture notes, discuss open problems, and talk about math-related topics.

He uses the Tarski theme with a modified CSS (to do things such as boxed theorems). As stated on his About page, he uses Luca Trevisan’s LaTeX to WordPress converter to write his more mathematically intensive posts. Above, you’ll see an example of how he uses LaTeX on his blog, excerpted from the post “An improved Type I estimate.”

Terence also has a blog category for non-technical posts, aimed at a more general audience, and offers helpful advice on mathematical careers.

Using LaTeX

From  “Euclid Strikes Back,” Gödel’s Lost Letter.

You can read a brief primer on using LaTeX on our Support site and search related forum discussions to see if a WordPress.com user has asked your question.

If you’re dipping in for the first time, we encourage you to check out these resources for help and detailed documentation:

We look forward to your posts showing off your math wizardry!

You might also enjoy these posts:


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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

15 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Gaurav Tiwari

    Out of these three, I’m a huge fan of Prof.. Tao’s writing. His blog is full of necessary lecture-notes and the blog sidebar is full of amazing math-resources over the web. If the list was further continued, I’d like to add “Gowers’ blog” into it , another field-medalist using WordPress.com and LaTeX. His posts are much more interesting for math-beginners and majors than those of any of the listed blogs. And to the next, you should not miss the tex.stackexchange.com as the most comprehensive TeX/LaTeX learning community available on the web.

    Like

  2. theclocktowersunset

    Where these are over my head somewhat, I’m glad to know there are math bloggers out there. I wasn’t aware of that fact, and am interested in finding some I can delve into. One of my passions in life is to get people to try to solve simple but unsolvable problems, just to get their wheels turning. I like to think it wakens them up a little.

    Like

  3. Jotpreet Singh

    Yeah, I guess learning LaTeX is like learning a new language. Also, can you tell me if the latex code produces an image (as seen in the above post) ??

    Like

  4. cain009

    Oh hoopdy doo……..yes, symbols simply represent certain proportions of whatever in wherever time-space and composition value, easy stuff . Here is an easy one. – Justin Trudeau = 0 .

    Like

  5. nerdlypainter

    Reblogged this on NerdlyPainter and commented:
    JUst some random nerd joy for the holiday weekend. I did not know that wordpress supports LaTex. Bestest most beautiful math editor ever.

    Like

  6. acaciacaraballo

    Reblogged this on Acacia's Education Blog and commented:
    I think this could be an interesting resource, not only for me as a teacher, but also for students, whether it’s in a blog or as part of class assignments.

    Like

  7. thepoliblog

    This is terrific. You wouldn’t guess it from my usual posts, but most of my non-blogging time is spent wrestling with equations. A few planned posts would need to contain some equations, and I’d been wondering how to place nicely formatted equations into a post.

    Like

  8. zorbatheindian

    Wonderful, maths is always fascinating ….

    Like

  9. tom

    Reblogged this on texblog and commented:
    Terrific, WordPress promotes math and LaTeX. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  10. Tom Walton (@HarryEnfield9)

    Using LaTeX in WordPress is really handy, and as the author says it’s great for mathematical posts. For longer documents, I tend to use https://www.writelatex.com – it’s an online compiler with an auto-preview so you can see the output as you type. Hope this is useful, and thanks again for the great post :)

    Like

  11. treyzguy

    Finally…something I can deal with!!!

    Like

  12. barbarr

    This is awesome, great post! I’ve considered starting a math blog for a while, and this post has inspired me to go ahead and do it!
    I can see WordPress’s Latex features being used in math/physics classes, presentations, and all sorts of other stuff in the future. Spread knowledge!

    Like

  13. Anna

    I literally have no idea what most of you wrote means, but it does look bloody fantastic!

    Like

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