Firstly, I want to preface by saying that I am no experience with the maths community at all, however I did take Maths and Further Maths for my A-Levels. What I have discovered is a way of using matrices and coordinates to calculate the absolute value of a n-dimentional shape in a systematic way, which means that it removes the decision making process that comes with working out the area or volume of a polygon or polyhedron, my method makes it trivial to do so and it works for n-dimensions.I think it will will also have uses in multi-dimentional statistics too.

Currently I have the method fully developed and I have conceptualised the proof, but needs writing (I have no experience in this). I have searched the internet to verify that my idea is novel, with faith in my google-fu I can say that it is. What I need is a bit of guidance to publish this method.

I am not looking for any monetary gain, but would like some recognition, which will help me when applying for university in four months.

Thanks for reading, all questions are welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean exactly by an $n$-dimensional "shape"? Mind that real life and Google are quite different beasts. $\endgroup$
    – AdLibitum
    Jul 1, 2015 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ See mathoverflow.net/questions/979/… and mathoverflow.net/questions/101240/… -- is that the kind of problem you're solving (measure properties of an $n$-dimensional polytope)? $\endgroup$
    – David K
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that is exactly correct!! I have found a trivial and algorithmic way of doing it, with the constraint being that the coordinates for the given shape is provided. $\endgroup$
    – methane95
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:31

4 Answers 4


I'm going to be blunt for your own sake.

You come across as a crackpot.

Maybe you're not a crackpot and have developed something novel and valuable. But it's hard to reconcile your claim that you're confident in the novelty of your idea with your professed ignorance of higher mathematics. If you're confident your idea is novel, can you explain how it differs from standard methods of integration, e.g. using Lebesgue theory?

In mathematics a lot of jargon is used. So how do you know you searched for the right terms when this jargon often impedes understanding even between actual mathematicians not familiar with each other's subfields? Somewhat related, your use of the term "absolute value" is very... nonstandard, to say the least. And if you haven't yet written out a proof that even convinces you, it's hard for others to take it seriously. Many will think, probably correctly, that your reasoning is mistaken.

My suggestion: find a friend familiar with mathematics at the calculus level and explain the contents of your idea. Ask for the most direct, honest feedback they can give you. If their feedback is positive, then the two of you together might seek out someone with more knowledge of higher mathematics to bounce the idea off of, and maybe assist you in wording your idea in such a way that you don't come across as you are now. But more likely, you are mistaken and this process may help you to get a handle on your error, or your idea is already known, and maybe this can be an eye opener to mathematics in general.

Best of luck.

  • $\begingroup$ Haha, I totally understand where you are coming from; however, I currently live in Oxford, and have the privilege of discussing this with many clever people, my friend who has an offer from to study maths next year, and another who is on her third year of studying maths, both at Oxford, and finally my maths teacher who graduated from Cambridge with a maths degree, he told me that my preposition is interesting and should definitely pursue it further. I have actually got a well thought out proof that I believe in but don't know how to go about writing it, and that is what I want help with. $\endgroup$
    – methane95
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ I myself think that I am pretty good at maths and my grades agree, I have done calculus to a high degree, but the problem I am solving does not require it, to get the area of a polygon you need the function that defines it first but that is a difficult thing to do and also impractical for a polygon that have several vertices, what I am proposing is a way to calculate the area , volume or other absolute values of a given shape by just using it's coordinates, however, it won't of course work for a shape with curves. $\endgroup$
    – methane95
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @methane95 If you have spoken to a mathematics professor who graduated from cambridge, why are you coming here to discuss this with us? Your two friends and the professor should definitely be able to help you write your 'well-thought out proof' if they are of those actual rankings. You seem to be so confident in your work that it's such a novel idea, coming here and telling us so doesn't really prove anything other than your boldness. Best of luck with all of this, but in the mathematical world you're going to need more than self-justification. $\endgroup$
    – Hushus46
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Hushus46 I am sorry,I didn't mean to come of so arrogant,I don't usually like mentioning these things but being called a crackpot doesn't help things.The thing is,school just finished and I don't plan on going back and I didn't think of asking for advice on this because of exam pressures and my friends are students so don't have much experience either.I am a computer scientist by nature, so I will try and program something that calculates the volume of a polyhedron,given it's coordinate,I know this is a far cry from n-dimentions but thats all I have time for.Once again sorry for my arrogance. $\endgroup$
    – methane95
    Jul 1, 2015 at 20:57

The original version of this question left out some important context that has since been supplied in comments on another answer, and has an interesting mix of self-deprecation and boasting, both of which might lead readers to have less confidence than perhaps we should in the things you are saying. You're young (I assume), so this may just reflect a lack of maturity (due to your age) which you may correct as you gain experience.

This is to say you are still on somewhat shaky grounds with regard to getting interest in your work from a bunch of strangers on the Internet, but not the same kind of shaky grounds as someone who has been doing his work in his own way in secret in a basement for 40 years before announcing it. (You have much better prospects for making a useful contribution.)

I would say by all means try to write this up as well as you can with the help of the people you know who can comment intelligently on what you have done. You may want to go through several rounds of getting comments and suggestions and rewriting your work accordingly.

You should also carefully read any papers you can find on this topic, especially survey papers (there are some references in https://mathoverflow.net/questions/979/, for example), trying to understand what others have tried to see if their methods are someone like yours (even if they describe things in different words).

To get any kind of useful publication credit within four months seems unrealistic to me. The time it takes to get through the review process for a refereed journal is typically much longer than that, and I can't think of any other type of publication that would give you the kind of recognition that would be an advantage on a university application. If you can get an introduction to an active researcher in mathematics (or even computer science, which has an entire subfield for this kind of thing) then pursue it; perhaps you can even get a letter of recommendation based on your work.

Another possibility, if there is any chance to attach a document to your university application, is to submit your "paper" with your application. Of course you will want to make sure that what you submit is something a math professor might be interested to read and not throw down in despair. Then, rather than relying on the recognition that comes from publication, let your work simply speak for itself.

There are two very likely reasons for your work to be unpublishable:

  • There might be a subtle but fatal flaw in your reasoning.
  • Someone may have done it before in a publication you either have not found yet or did not fully understand.

But even if one of these things turns out to be true, I believe your work could still be useful to you in your university application. If someone who has not yet started university training can even make a halfway credible attempt to create some useful and novel mathematics, I would hope it would be of great interest to a university.

Once you get into a university, you will (sooner or later) have the kind of access to researchers in mathematics (professors at your university) who may become interested in what you have done. If the idea is a good one, you may find that your professors can help you get it published. You will already be at the university, of course, but a publication could help your application to a graduate program later.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 esp. for the 'submit your "paper" with application' advice. $\endgroup$ Jul 2, 2015 at 3:16

You're probably talking about a generalized determinant. See something like http://www.mathwords.com/a/area_convex_polygon.htm . Well done for discovering the formula, it might come up in a Linear Algebra course if you study maths at university.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is exactly like that, but I have generalised it for n-dimentions. $\endgroup$
    – methane95
    Jul 1, 2015 at 16:52

How do I publish it ?

Anonymously, on a free content site.

I would like some recognition, which will help me when applying for university in $4$ months.

There's no point in getting recognition for $($re$)$discovering the multidimensional generalization of a well-known formula. Chances are it is already known $($to mankind$)$, albeit perhaps not as popular as its more earthy counterpart. Throughout my life, I have also $($re$)$discovered many things, such as binary powers, the $\Gamma$ and beta functions, Newton's binomial series, Theodore's spiral, etc., so I would kindly urge you to be more cautious in your assumptions about what is already known.


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