The Language of Mathematics is English
Today there was a talk on “how to write a Part III essay.” Essays are literature reviews on a topic in mathematics that may segue into PhD topic. One essay may be written during the course of Part III to count as a three unit exam. The speaker addressed the concern that at an institution such as Cambridge, some students may be concerned that speaking English as a second/third/nth language may be a disadvantage: (rough paraphrase from memory)
Writing an essay would still be good practice since English is the language that mathematics is conducted in. That’s just the way the world is. It could have been German, but Germany decided to take part in two rather ill-advised World Wars.
The room had a good chuckle at this, including to my German neighbor, Steffen, who offered a lighthearted, “It’s true.”
(As a side note: did you ever notice that physicists use the word ‘ansatz’ while mathematicians use the word ‘conjecture’? One professor suggested that this may be reflective of the geographic history of physics.)
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