We are featuring short interviews with each of our editors, so that you can get to know those folks who are responsible for highlighting your posts each week as editors’ selections. For the second in our series, meet Peter Krautzberger, who picks the best posts in the field of mathematics.
Hello! Let’s start with first things first. Where are you from, what do you do how did you get into science?
Originally from Germany, I live in Los Angeles. I ended up studying mathematics mostly by chance, actually. I had to visit the university and sit down with a special form in a special room where I could choose between all non-numerus clausus degrees. Mind boggling, really. Of course I had a rough idea what I wanted but I ended up choosing between math and CS mostly by chance. And then I fell in love with mathematics which was blowing my mind being so much richer and more exciting than anything you’ll ever learn at school.
After a postdoc, life has lead me slightly away from research and academia and I currently work for the MathJax project, a joint venture of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
What is the name of your blog and why did you choose that name – what does it mean?
My blog bears no title (other than my name) because it my home on the web. However, it has a subtitle: “on Booles’ Rings” which refers to Booles’ Rings (surprise!), a blogging network I started with Sam Coskey a while back. The name “Booles’ Rings” is a reference to the famous mathematician George Boole, his wife and daughters, and the mathematical objects named after him. You can read the full story (you guessed it) on my blog.
How did you get into science blogging and science writing? What were the early influences on you regarding your blogging style and topics?
I started to blog during my PhD, as an experiment with my own (mathematical) writing. While it was the inspiration from the many science bloggers that made me take the step, there was little inspiration on the math blogging side of things. The big figures like Terry Tao and Tim Gowers overshadowed the community with a style that I had no interest in. Unfortunately, back then there was not a lot going on in terms of sharing and promoting each other within the community. Fortunately, this is very different nowadays.
What is your blog about? Who is your target audience, and why do you think people should read your blog?
My personal blog’s focus is largely on my work and field. Originally, this meant academic life and my work as a grad student and postdoc. But as part of the team at mathblogging.org I also blogged a lot on our mathblogging.org-blog.
Leaving academia, my focus has naturally moved towards my new job. Luckily, this means I write about the technology that enables math and science on the web and seems to remain interesting to some.
How do you spend your time when you’re not doing science or science blogging? Any interesting hobbies?
In my spare time, I’m involved in mathblogging.org, Booles’ Rings and mathtalks.org.
Why did you decide to become an editor at ScienceSeeker? How do you use ScienceSeeker aside from when you’re making your editors’ selections?
When Dave Munger approached me at #Scio12 about the changes coming to ScienceSeeker, I was thrilled to join in this new platform. I had done similar editorial work on the mathblogging.org-Blog and was already spending way too much time reading science blogs ;). Since mathematical blogging is less visible in popular science communication, I was exited to help add to the visibility of the many excellent math bloggers out there, some known and some less known. In the meant time, ScienceSeeker has become my default for catching up on science blogging in general, not the least because of all the fantastic picks from my fellow editors.
As you make your editors’ selections, what sorts of things do you look for? What’s the best way a blogger can get your attention, as an editor?
In my editor’s selections I try to cover the whole range of mathematical blogging – everything from current research debates to introductory pieces to academic life (in particular gender-related) to simple but beautiful visual posts. My advice for bloggers is to focus on what they care about; everything else will follow. In my experience it increases the chance that their pieces are a great read. And I don’t mind reading 100 too highly specialized pieces; it pays off to wait for that 101st one.