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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg120182] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:57:57 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <201107041044.GAA02461@smc.vnet.net> <iuukk8$epi$1@smc.vnet.net> <15944200.6757.1309943765495.JavaMail.root@m06> <iv45b8$es8$1@smc.vnet.net> <201107080852.EAA28646@smc.vnet.net>

On 8 Jul 2011, at 10:52, Richard Fateman wrote:

> I find it far preferable to take stuff out of a computer algebra system
> as TeX and paste it into a static document.  This also provides an
> opportunity to fix the broken displays.  E.g. we really don't expect a
> display of f=ma   to  come out   f=am.   Or E=mc^2 to come out e=c^2m
> (note also that E=2.718... not energy). Mathematica thinks it knows
> better than Einstein and Newton.


This argument is entirely bogus. If you really want to produce a "static 
document" in Mathematica there is no need to evaluate anything. You 
enter f=ma and it stays that way. You can also write E=mc^2 or 
whatever you like and it will stay this way too. This is so obvious it 
is hard to believe anyone could fail to have noticed it.

Of course things are different when evaluated output is concerned but it 
also obvious that it is much easier to "fix it" in Mathematica than to 
copy and paste into TeX and then fix it there.

There are good reasons for using TeX instead of Mathematica for journal 
articles (I almost always do so myself) but very few of them were given 
in this thread (and none in the above passage). One of the main reasons 
is that in fact it is often very hard and sometimes perhaps impossible 
to produce in Mathematica mathematical documents of the kind of 
professional quality that is expected by mathematics journals.

On the other hand I use Mathematica exclusively for such things as 
writing homework or exam problems for my students and almost all 
"informal" mathematical writing. The advantages of Mathematica for all 
such purposes seem to me so obvious that I won't bother listing them 
here.

Andrzej Kozlowski


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