*Every once in a while I stumble on an interesting collective noun, usually for animals: a parliament of owls, a knot of toads, an exaltation of larks. I’ll be at the Joint Math Meetings this week with several thousand of my best mathematical friends, so it seems appropriate to figure out what to call a group of mathematicians. Even that word “group” is loaded, though. It has a precise meaning in algebra, so other mathematicians might feel left out if we use it as the collective noun for mathematicians in general. (It’s rather dull anyway. No offense, group theorists.)*

*I have heard an “awkward” suggested as an appropriate collective noun for mathematicians, but that is unkind and (nearly half the time) inaccurate. I humbly suggest that a collection of mathematicians should instead be called a “proof” because proofs bring us together across all different subdisciplines of mathematics. (Plus, it reminds me of “pride,” and lions are cool.)*

Read the full post at Roots of Unity.

## Recent Comments