The slow evolution of mathematical communication

Saturday, December 9, 2006 - 9:00am - 10:00am
EE/CS 3-180
Andrew Odlyzko (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Digital technologies are advancing rapidly. But their acceptance
by scholars varies considerably. Some, such as computerized typesetting
and email, have become universal among mathematicians, while others, such
as Open Access, are advancing very slowly. While this is frustrating to
technology enthusiasts, it should not be too surprising, as it follows
a common historical pattern. While each technology is different, people
do not change, and they have often been slow to embrace even revolutionary
innovations. There are common patterns in the diffusion of earlier technologies,
and some possible lessons will be drawn from them for math communication.