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How to write a "proper" math document

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  • Subject: [mg119892] How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: "McHale, Paul" <Paul.McHale at>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 07:56:21 -0400 (EDT)


I am an engineer who lacks the audacity to claim any special awareness in math, but do find what skills I have very useful.  One of the tasks engineers have is to leave a trail of bread crumbs for others to follow.  This document ends up being design calculations (minimally) and a process of discovery (ideally).  I have found myself and other engineers often understand what we are doing, but are far worse at communicating it.  I agree this indicates a gap in understanding to some degree.  I think it is also true that we can think of Moby Dick but don't have the proper writing skills to convey it as a novel.  The result is a mixture of ineffective writing styles to document work.

Does anyone have a set of rules or a style document for how to write a document that will be mathematically oriented?  I have found some information. A common set of tasks I do include:

1. Highlight original datasheet pdf using PDF XChange (free)
2. Use screen hunter to capture relevant part of PDF and past into notebook
3. Use above information to as input data to perform calculations
4. Mix calculations with explanation of what and why

1. Describe existing solution or foundation from which we are going to extrapolate
2. Explain (charts, data, verbage) why this is insufficient
3. Show what we are changing to achieve better results

Maybe the discovery could almost be called a white paper.  What I am looking for is rules such as when to refer to an equation by number (can Mathematica do this?) or when we should just "in line" the equation within a sentence.  Any such rules would be appreciated.  Once document I have found is:

While very good, it is not mathematica centric.  I.e. Is there way to quickly open and close cells since programming cells reduce document readability for the Mathematica un-challenged :).

I'm sure there is much more to the Mathematica front end than what I am using.

Paul McHale  |  Electrical Engineer, Energetics Systems  |  Excelitas Technologies Corp.

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Paul.McHale at

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