Monday, July 29, 2013

Improving Wikipedia on condensed matter

For a long time I have been meaning to write this post. It was finally stimulated by seeing that the Electronic Structure Theory community has started an initiative to improve the Wikipedia articles relevant to their community.

I think most of the articles relevant to theoretical condensed matter physics and chemistry are quite poor or non-existent. We need to take responsibility for that.

I think the simplest way forward may be for us to encourage our graduate students to write and update articles for Wikipedia. Many draft literature reviews for undergrad, Masters, and Ph.D theses could be used as starting points. For that matter some of my blog posts, could be too. It could be quite educational for students to post material and hopefully see it revised.


  1. Agreed. You just inspired me to write a wikipedia article on the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface.

    If scientists care about spreading their research, I think Wikipedia is a great place to start. There is no cost to publish and it's accessible by everyone. Specific research projects don't belong, but I could see review papers adapting well to the format.

    Also, I think being a Wikipedia author is a great resume/interview booster. Often it's hard to advertise your expertise to a non-expert audience. One way could be to say: "As a graduate student studying XXX, I authored, edited, and maintained the Wikipedia article on XXX."

  2. Here it is!

  3. Hi Ted,
    I am glad I inspired you. Well done.
    You also have an excellent point that for grad students this could be a resume booster.