Podcast E14: The mathematician who teaches writing

For this episode, I sat down with Professor Vin de Silva, a mathematician who also teaches writing skills. In our chat, Vin talked about his approach to teaching - and how he learned to communicate mathematical ideas clearly and compellingly.

Tune into to hear Vin discuss:

  • The benefits of writing to a tight word count

  • Why it’s important to create a sense of ease in your reader

  • How to use storytelling techniques to hook your audience in

  • The importance of writing with your audience in mind

  • How to know if a piece of writing has succeeded

  • The benefits of taking risks as a writer

  • Why good writers aren’t afraid of ‘dumbing down’

  • How to revise a piece when your first draft is terrible

  • How to use storyboarding to create an effective presentation

  • How to give helpful feedback on someone else’s writing


About Vin de Silva

Vin de Silva was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and spent most of his formative years in the south-east of London. After completing his undergraduate and post-graduate studies in the UK, he moved to the USA and eventually took up a faculty position in the mathematics department at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He relishes the broad "liberal arts" outlook of his institution, regularly teaching the first-year writing and critical inquiry seminar in addition to his mathematics classes.