I am an undergraduate CS student but I love mathematics and spend most of my time doing and reading math books. I realize that it's important to get into the habit of reading papers and journals so it will be easier to think of ideas for projects and research.

I'd like to know how I should start reading papers and what papers are good for beginners?

The areas of mathematics I really like are Discrete Mathematics, Combinatorics, Number Theory, Mathematical Induction, Problem Solving, etc. I like things like Calculus too but I feel papers on Calculus would be too difficult to understand.

Also, are there any particular efficient methodologies for reading papers? Is knowledge better gotten from books or from papers?

Note: I want to say that there are already threads asking which papers every mathematician should read, and which every computer scientist should read. The purpose of this thread is slightly different. It isn't asking which standard papers everyone should know. It's asking which papers allow for an incisive entry into deeper knowledge of the subject.

P.S. : For the benefit of anyone who sees this thread later, I did find a wonderful journal called Crux Mathematicorum'' dedicated solely to problem solving! They allow free access to their back issues on their website. Other good journals I found wereParabola'' and ``Pi in The Sky,'' both of which may be read online for free.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Matthew Towers, The Count, 0XLR, nmasanta, Paul Frost Aug 2 at 12:38

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Relevant: blog.geomblog.org/2016/01/… and cstheory.stackexchange.com/a/2180/13319 $\endgroup$ – Clement C. Feb 25 '16 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ Papers in most subsubfields of math require some relevant background both in general experience with formal mathematics and content knowledge. Sometimes an undergrad intro to combinatorics is enough, but often much more specialized knowledge is required. Without a particular paper you'd like to read, I'd say just start with undergrad/graduate textbooks first and then branch out into real papers. $\endgroup$ – Mark S. Feb 26 '16 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know of any good papers dealing with problem solving, perhaps ? Those problems don't require too much knowledge but test skill. $\endgroup$ – user230452 Feb 26 '16 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how much research there is on problem solving, and if there were any, I would expect it to belong more to the educational side of the spectrum, rather than being focused primarily on mathematical content. That said, George Polya concentrated quite a bit on problem solving, and you may want to look into any of this books, in particular, How to Solve It. $\endgroup$ – pjs36 Feb 26 '16 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm looking for journals/books of a similar spirit as Polya's book. $\endgroup$ – user230452 Feb 27 '16 at 17:36

Since, I have not gotten any answer, I will put my own answer to this question shortly. It my be of help to anyone in the future who finds this.

  • $\begingroup$ Polya also wrote Mathematical Discovery: On Understanding,Learning, and Teaching Problem Solving (in two volumes) which I found much better than his earlier How To Solve It........ Are you familiar with American Mathematical Monthly, and its companion Mathematics Magazine? $\endgroup$ – DanielWainfleet Jul 3 at 10:36

Try to obtain a copy (your school library probably has them) of some of the MAA publications like the Mathematics Magazine or the College Math Journal.

The Mathematical Gazette is also nice in my opinion for college students or advanced high school students.

The MAA also publishes the American Mathematical Monthly, but it may be a bot advanced for beginners.

These might be a nice place to start.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your reply but I am afraid I am no longer in school/college. :) Besides, my college library didn't have any magazine from MAA. $\endgroup$ – user230452 Aug 7 at 4:37

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