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Imagine you are writing in the science section of a newspaper. You are asked to produce an article to persuade the audience of your opinion on a controversial mathematics issue or idea.

Genre: an op-ed article.

Objective: to inform, interest, engage, and persuade the reader.

Audience: a mixed audience comprising the educated general public.

Length: 1000 to 1200 words

References: at least four relevant in-text citations

Preparing your work

Identify a topic

These can be controversies in which different scientists have a different interpretation, understanding, or belief of the facts (e.g. a recently proposed theory, hypothesis, or mechanism; a study that appears to disprove an accepted theory, etc.); and/or

Controversies in which there is disagreement about the potential impact of a particular mathematics finding or idea.

Unsuitable topics include those that are not specific to mathematicians and mathematics; topics that do not demonstrate your opinion on the science; and topics that are minimally controversial (i.e. topics on which your audience are already likely to agree with you).

Develop your understanding of the topic

To do this, you will need to read extensively on your chosen topic. While you are reading, you might want to consider:

How did this controversy come about? / Who is involved in this controversy? / What arguments, evidence, and opinions are out there already on this topic? / What are the implications of the controversy? / How might the controversy be resolved in the future?

Develop your message

To do this, you will need to think carefully about the existing arguments and evidence that you have read about and consider your own thoughts and stance on them.

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