For over twenty years, the Math Doctors have enjoyed answering questions at Ask Dr. Math®, the question-and-answer service of The Math Forum. We have talked about all aspects of math, from homework questions, to work-related practical math, to “how” or “why” questions arising from curiosity or confusion. Unfortunately, the site recently stopped taking questions – but we don’t want to stop answering them! A group of us have joined together to create this new site as a way to continue our mission of mentoring anyone who writes to us, and to move it up a level.
Unlike other free math help sites, we are not a public discussion board, where anyone might answer your question (sometimes rudely or incorrectly), but a group of dedicated volunteers who have a good reputation to maintain, answering your questions privately and carefully. We then make the most generally useful discussions available in an edited form for the benefit of the public (with private information removed, of course). We want to provide a safe, comfortable environment for anyone to ask questions: from preschool through grad school, from basic arithmetic through college math, and from students to parents to teachers to workers. We strive to be encouraging, helpful, polite – and correct. Teachers and students alike have trusted us for decades, and we are committed to continuing that tradition.
Our members have years of experience, starting with an “internship” in which we discussed our work with an experienced mentor (Dr. Ian, for many of us) who passed on to us the culture of the Math Doctors – how to give just the right amount of help rather than solving a problem for you, and how to interact patiently no matter what kind of question you have or how awkwardly you ask it.
The Ask Dr. Math archive still provides access to the thousands of good discussions that we archived under The Math Forum, out of hundreds of thousands of questions we answered there. We encourage you to look there first if you have a question, because there is a good chance we have already answered it. But often reading is not enough; you need interaction with someone who understands you. We’re here to give you whatever individual help you need.
To ask a new question, go to the Ask a Question page (the Doctors’ Office). No registration is needed; just give us your name (it doesn’t have to be your full name) and email (which will never be published), and a little information about you (so we can have an idea of your level of knowledge), and ask away!
Since our goal is not just to give you answers, but to help you learn to solve problems for yourself, we need to see your work and hear what is giving you trouble – just sending us a problem with no work will get you no more than a hint of how to start. If your question is a general one rather than a specific exercise, all the better – but even then a specific example may help explain what you are asking.
You can upload a picture or other document to help show the details of the problem or your work. (But don’t rely on a picture to ask the entire question.) When you submit the question, we will send you an acknowledgment email telling you that we received it. When we reply, you will get another email. Follow the link it provides, read our answer, and write back if necessary. (Be sure not to let our email be treated as spam.)
The blog is where we discuss publicly what we have learned from past or recent conversations, adding value to the old archive and sharing insights from new questions. Each week we plan to post (1) an exploration of a topic that has been dealt with in several ways over the years; (2) a look at a favorite old answer that we run across in the course of our work (Archive Question of the Week); and (3) an answer from recent months on this new site, to show what we are currently doing (New Question of the Week). These posts will introduce you to a wide variety of questions from the past and present, inviting you to explore the archive with us, and perhaps provoking further questions from you. Of course, feel free to respond to anything we write here, using the Comment section. Eventually, we will also have a new Question Archive and FAQ.