A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Google+ stream when I saw a link to a program called Mathgen by one of my favorite posters.

(I could stop here to compare the differences between Google+ and Facebook, and how Mathgen is the type of nerdy post typically found on Google+, while Facebook is full of less intellectual stuff. But because I want to stay focused, I won’t go off topic, even though I just did)

So anyways, what is Mathgen? Mathgen is a program written by mathematician Nate Eldredge that can generate random math essays with the click of a button. Of course, the papers don’t make any sense when closely examined, but at a glance, they’re professionally formatted and are loaded with complicated math symbols that mean nothing to the average person. I created my own paper to see what it would look like, and I ended up with a paper entitled “Existence Methods in Calculus.”  It’s beautiful.

I did some more research into Mathgen, and apparently, they managed to imitate the style of modern mathematical research papers by only using a few sentence structures and inserting random symbols and references in between.

This lack of variety in sentence structure allows people with only a limited knowledge of English to understand these papers about a universal language, but it also shows how unoriginal and lazy the average mathematician is when it comes to displaying their research.

In fact, a paper written with Mathgen was recently accepted into a “reputable” math journal, Advances in Applied Mathematics. (Kind of a big blow to their reputation.) More details are in their blog, but in the end, the “author” decided to not publish the paper because of a $500 publishing fee and because it would be pretty pointless, besides being a hilarious joke. 

Mathgen was inspired by a similar program that MIT researchers wrote a few years ago called Scigen to generate random computer science papers, and one of the randomly generated papers was also accepted as a submission to a computer science conference. Remember that the paper was essentially just random sentences with random structures with random words thrown in.

These two programs are really a commentary on the (literally) robot-like style that most professional papers are written with these days, as well as an interesting joke that allows anyone to create their own scientific research paper.

So, if any of you are bored and want to impress some people (as I did with my paper), go over to Mathgen or Scigen, type in your name, choose a few more “co-authors,” click a button, and VOILA, you have your very own professional paper!


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