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Re: Re: Re: label origin on plot

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg57690] Re: [mg57661] Re: [mg57616] Re: [mg57583] label origin on plot
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 03:04:36 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

That technique of putting the axis origin very close to, but not at, 0 
is work-around to what I consider a Mathematica design deficiency, 
namely, not including an option to allow labelling the origin.

I quite agree that axes through the origin is NOT what one typically 
sees in science graphs.  The fact remains that axes with the origin 
labelled with a single 0 is a long-standing convention in mathematics. 
(And yes, that can lead to all sorts of clashes of the function graph 
with the tick labels, and not just that at 0.)

One should not underestimate the importance of historical convention in 
such matters.  After all, a very good case can be made that conventional 
mathematical notation is really quite bad -- replete with ambiguities 
and inconsistencies -- but to the disappointment of some, an 
unambiguous, totally consistent mathematical notation (e.g., that 
introduced by K. Iverson) has never made any significant and permanent 
inroad into the conventional notation.

David Park wrote:

> There is another way to 'trick' Mathematica into labeling zero on one of the
> axes.
> Plot[1 - x^2, {x, -1, 1},
>     AxesOrigin -> {0.000001, 0},
>     AxesLabel -> {x, y}];
> Even if calculus books have such plots, I don't think they are so great. The
> reason is that the ticks and the labeling come right in the middle of the
> curve. I still think a Frame plot is better because it gets all of the
> labeling off of the curve. ... As I have often remarked here, you will be hard
> pressed to find an Axes plot in Science.

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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