Hmmm. It appears that I get to spend this week working on something which is not this website. However, it’s not in my nature to leave whatever readers I’ve got without something else to read, and fortunately for me, the Internets have delivered some juicy material recently. Two books are in the works, and you, Gentle Reader, have a chance to contribute to both of them.
Both are mathematical in nature. The one geared to a more general audience is Jason Rosenhouse’s big book on the Monty Hall Problem. He’s finished the first draft, and is gathering feedback on the first chapter. Go, read the PDF, and offer your comments!
Second, the Fields Medalist Terry Tao has assembled the highlights of his 2007 math blogging into a book. A first draft of the whole shebang, clocking in at 374 pages, is available on the mathotubes. Tao’s book requires, on the whole, a somewhat higher level of background knowledge, but big chunks of it should be fairly easy going for math and physics undergraduates. His essay explaining quantum mechanics via Tomb Raider, his description of Danica McKellar‘s theoretical physics work (the Chase-McKellar-Winn theorem) and his retelling of Einstein’s derivation of [tex]E = mc^2[/tex] are particularly nice.
Comments, suggestions and glitch-fixes are already accumulating at Tao’s blog. Join the fun!
Finally, a longer-term development: a start-up company called Flat World Knowledge is now officially going forward with a plan to provide open textbooks, college texts which will be free as in speech and free as in beer. Thanks to Peter Suber for noticing.