Math is hard: the use of complex equations decreases the chance a paper will be cited

Figure 1- math is hard

How many of you asked “when am I ever going to need to know this” in math class? While basic mathematical literacy is essential for life in the modern world, most people can achieve success in their careers if they can’t remember the difference between pi and apple pie.

One of the exceptions to this comes from my own career path- scientists absolutely, positively need to have strong quantitative skills in order to perform research. However, many scientists struggle with math.  I can’t even count how many conference presentations I’ve attended that included a statement along the lines of “don’t worry about all the complicated equations here”, or how many students or journal club attendees have told me that they just skipped over the section of a paper focusing on models and equations.  See what I did there? Can’t even count? Anyway, while math may be more directly relevant to our jobs than it is to some of yours, we still find it hard.

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