10. Writing a Thesis
These notes are from the 2018 version of the course. A significantly expanded new version will be made available once the 2019 course starts. 🤓
Writing a thesis is daunting, not least because it requires that you to first understand complex maths and then prove your understanding through a coherent, lengthy exposition that must withstand close scrutiny.
Unlike oral exams where you can muddle through with hints and hand-waving, or written exams where set questions expect set answers, in a thesis you are on your own. Even a Bachelor's thesis that requires the least original thought can be written in multiple ways using multiple approaches that depend on the topic and your background and personal preferences.
Nevertheless, most papers in mathematics closely follow structuring conventions—the ordering and presentation of ideas—and theses are no exception. Once you know what is expected, doing the actual work will seem less daunting. Moreover, once you have completed your first thesis, writing long pieces of maths will be comparatively easy.