12
$\begingroup$

How to be when you are working on something innovative? What to do if there is a chance (even the $1\%$) that your work is leading you to something original?

For example what have I do if I don't know mathematicians that I don't trust to ask him? Is a good idea to talk about your results to someone, even if are not real results?

Question:

What do you do when you feel like that?

I'm looking for a list or links about Math.SE questions, of practical tips to use studying about something that you feel innovative providing a new solution.

I am interested for books about how the mathematicians' research, as well.

Here the link to the same question on AccademiaSE

$\endgroup$

closed as off topic by Grigory M, Noah Snyder, achille hui, Isaac, Alexander Gruber May 10 '13 at 7:41

Questions on Mathematics Stack Exchange are expected to relate to math within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ A good strategy would be to tell people that you have original content that you cannot share with somebody because they might steal it. Better yet, tweet that you have an elegant proof for a big conjecture, but it unfortunately won’t fit the 140-characters-restriction. $\endgroup$ – k.stm May 9 '13 at 11:02
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Write it up, then ask experts in the field if they think it is original, keeping record of the correspondence. If they believe it's original, submit it to a journal. If it is accepted, you can feel you have accomplished something. At any rate, don't be too distressed if it turns out someone thought of it already, or if you have some mistake: this is fairly common. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb May 9 '13 at 11:04
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Also, this is not a constructive question. It sounds more like you want to discuss paranoia and excitement about your own personal project. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb May 9 '13 at 11:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @MphLee It’s a joke, hinting at Fermat’s Last Theorem. $\endgroup$ – k.stm May 9 '13 at 11:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MphLee I apologize, I may have imagined too many things when reading the question. Regardless, this is still off topic. I think what you are really looking for is academia.stackexchange. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb May 9 '13 at 13:09
15
$\begingroup$

Since it looks like people like the question, I may as well post my answer as an answer. It was sincere, after all:

Write it up, preferably using LaTeX. (That is a "trade skill" for mathematics writers.) It will be important that you have this ready, if you are seriously interested in taking credit.

Then ask experts in the field if they think it is original, keeping record of the correspondence. There is little to be worried about concerning academic dishonesty here, especially if you keep track of correspondence in an organized way. You don't have to give them your entire write-up if you don't trust them. You can just convey your main ideas, and if they have appeared before, you will likely be pointed to the publication. The odds are that if your work was worthwhile, it would hardly be reproducable in a short amount of time. Remember that you must have been working on it for a while, so there must be some content that took some thinking.

If they believe it's original, submit it to a journal. If it is accepted, you can feel you have accomplished something. You can still submit it if your experts say it's not worth publishing, but if you ignore valid reasons that they have, you may face some embarassment.

At any rate, don't be too distressed if it turns out someone thought of it already, or if you have some mistake: this is fairly common. A lot of people have thought about mathematics in the past few thousand years, so there is a large chance of paths crossing :)

In conclusion, you are probably not going to get anywhere without talking with some experts on the topic you are researching. It is reasonable to consult them, exposing the core part of your ideas. It is unlikely that the body of your work will be totally hijacked.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ good answer! But I'll wait a bit for other for a more complete view. $\endgroup$ – MphLee May 9 '13 at 16:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Now I'm really paying the price for my earlier closure vote :) 10 votes, and I can't get any points because after voting to close, your posts are apparently automatically converted to CW $\endgroup$ – rschwieb May 9 '13 at 18:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I do not think is bad because I was not interested in reputation, I think these must be common knowledges for mathematicans. Very useful tips for everyone interested in research. About why, @robjohn made it CW, and was a good idea imo. Even if I wanted to see more answers.. :( $\endgroup$ – MphLee May 9 '13 at 18:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.