Monday, May 17, 2010


I notice that John Baez has realized a danger of the new scientific order of blog posts, blog comments, labs, mailing lists, expository-style papers, preprints in arxiv, and traditional scientific journal articles.

From a comment on the May 15, 2010 post of n-category cafe (my italics)
"This Week’s Finds and my seminar notes are packed with hunches of varying caliber. Sometimes you need to read between the lines a bit to see them — for example, if I say something ‘should’ be true, it means I believe it’s true but haven’t proved it. And sometimes, I’ve said something is true even though I haven’t proved it. By now I realize this is a bad habit… thanks to the following story.
Once I went to a talk where somebody said that for any ring R there’s a one-object tricategory Alg(R) consisting of R-algebras, bimodules and bimodule morphisms. I said “Really? Do you know if anyone has ever written that up?” And the speaker said “Sure! It’s in This Week’s Finds!” Which galled me, because while I knew it was true, I’d never seen a proof written up — and I realized then that by claiming it was true in This Week’s Finds, I’d reduced the chances of ever seeing a proof."
Another remark:
"The last page of my slides was supposed to summarize only the ideas that will surprise and thrill the audience, so I get a standing ovation."

I find the current state of n-category theory a confusing mixture of conjecture, unfinished definitions, unfinished proofs, buts lots of exposition.

I am old-fashioned and believe that to maintain integrity we must insist that the science exists in the scientific journal articles. Credit should be assigned on the basis of published scientific articles.
I don't know what it means to have expository articles of an vaguely developed field.

Perhaps we will end with Bogdanovs.

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