Opinion 42: Eric Weisstein's Math Treasure-Trove Should Be Re-Activated As Soon As Possible

By Doron Zeilberger

Written: Feb. 7, 2001

UPDATE ADDED Nov. 7, 2001: At Long Last, Eric's Mathworld is back! Shame on CRC Press for interrupting it for more than one year!

The other day I needed to look something up in Eric Weisstein's Amazing Math Treasure Trove, and found out, to my horror and shock, that it has been taken off the web indefinitely.

Eric's Mathworld site is a global treasure. It should be made public at all costs, and Eric should get paid by either the government or one of the math societies. Everybody talks how important improving math education is. Eric's contribution and the impact of his site, are orders-of-magnitude more significant than many NSF math-ed grants put together. Why can't the NSF spare, say 100K a year, to pay Eric and to maintain his site? Or why can't the American Math Soc. create a position for him, say as part of MathSciNet? It should also be peanuts, on a national scale, to pay CRC for their rights.

It was nice of Wolfram research to sponsor Eric, but with all its good intentions, Wolfram is a commercial enterprise, whose primary goal is to make money. In fact, it was Wolfram's (for-profit)y that apparently got CRC mad. But, CRC should be ashamed of itself for being so greedy and narrow-minded. While it might be true that the legal law is on their side, justice definitely is not. I suggest that we try to boycott CRC until they agree to put back Eric's Mathworld site. This means, try not to adopt any of their textbooks (whenevert there is a choice), and try not to publish your book with them. This way they will understand, that even from their narrow, greedy, perspective, it does not pay to be so piggy.

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