Peter Krautzberger · on the web

New "What is…?" Videos


Last week I finally begun catching up on uploading videos of the ‘What is …?’ seminar in Berlin. Even though I’m now in Ann Arbor I am still happy to help out by uploading the video recordings. For now I’m only catching up on videos I recorded at the beginning of the year, but there’s something to look forward to: the new video camera the BMS sponsored offers HD resolution! So look forward to more fantastic mathematical footage coming soon.

Rough paths, Geodesics and more

For now, I’m happy to say that two new videos are up. First there is Joscha Diehl’s talk on ‘What is … a rough path?’ .

Second there is the first ‘tag team’ talk by Dror Atariah and Tobias Pfeiffer on ‘What is … a geodesic on a Riemannian Manifold’ .

I also must say I love Felix Breuer’s beautiful video Der Kleine Gauß which was made for a general (German speaking) audience explaining the equation

not by stupid calculations but with real mathematical thought. (Disclaimer: I was involved in its production)


I am a huge fan of free online publication of video recordings of all kinds of lectures. Since a large part of university level teaching involves not-too-interactive lectures I think not only the MIT has shown what an asset it is to have these video available both for their students and the general (academic) public.

There are just too many things great about this! The lecturer can evaluate him/herself, the students can use it to revise (and discuss), people all over the world gain access to top level teaching and on top of that you offer transparency to whoever funds research and teaching. It’s a win for everyone.

But I also think that teaching should only be the beginning. The Journal of Number Theory has begun offering (and suggesting to) their authors to record video abstracts. Of course, has been doing this and much more, albeit with a heavy focus on the sciences, not so much mathematics.

But besides the high level math videos I think there is much need for lower level lectures, maybe even unsophisticated talks. This is not meant to be negative — for how else could I distinguish the top level if there was nothing else to compare it to? Everybody has to start somewhere and get experience to grow. This is why we always encouraged the speakers at the “What is …?” seminar to make their talks available — even with the worst talks (like a couple of my own) everybody gains, especially the speaker.