Introductions

An attention-grabbing introduction is a must when writing good expository prose.  Budding writers are instructed to hook the reader and pull them headfirst into the meat of a paper.

I just read a paper that opened with this gem:

Let (M, g) be a compact convex manifold with smooth boundary, nonnegative sectional curvature and soul S. Then there exists a complete metric g in M with nonnegative curvature and that splits as a metric product N × [a,1) outside some tubular neighborhood of S, where N is diffeomorphic to the unit normal bundle of S in M.

For the moment, put aside your pressing questions of whether the manifold soul can go to heaven.

Is there a better way to start this paper? I think so. As an exercise I rewrote this theorem to engage the reader a bit more:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely –having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.  Let (M, g) be a compact convex manifold with smooth boundary, nonnegative sectional curvature and soul S.  It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.  Then there exists a complete metric g in M with nonnegative curvature and that splits as a metric product N × [a,1) outside some tubular neighborhood of S, where N is diffeomorphic to the unit normal bundle of S in M.

Drink and swear, ye men that man the deathful whaleboat’s bow.

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~ by wcuk on April 3, 2008.

2 Responses to “Introductions”

  1. Call Me Ishmael by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is a catchy tune.

  2. I read something like that on Herman Melville’s blog (it’s all about whales, what a weirdo). Did you plagiarize?

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