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Using pictures instead of symbols in an equation.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg65048] Using pictures instead of symbols in an equation.
  • From: "Dave (from the UK)" <see-my-signature at>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2006 23:58:56 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: Mar-2006 at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I'm going to give a talk at a local radio club on Monday and want to 
produce some handouts. The audience will be pretty non-technical, so 
writing lots of equations with Greek symbols is not going to be on!

So I could resort to something like

S/N = s / (n1 + n2 + n3 +n4)


s = signal power
n1 = thermal noise
n2 = made made electrical noise
n3 = electrical noise from the Sun.

That would be better than Greek symbols, but I am still not sure it will 
be understood too well.

So I was thinking of pictorially represent what they are.

s = signal power (perhaps draw a radio transmitter)
n1 = thermal noise (perhaps draw a coal fire)
n2 = made made electrical interference (perhaps draw a computer)
n3 = electrical noise from sun (perhaps draw the sun)

Is there a way of doing that in a notebook, such that that images (gif, 
jpeg etc) could be used in equations and computations preformed on those 

OK, you think I am mad! Perhaps I am, but I'm trying to get the idea of 
using equations across to an audience where although a few might be 
chartered engineers, the vast majority are frightened by Ohms law. They 
*should* all have a clue what equations are, as they have all passed the 
rather basic exam for an amateur radio license. But for anyone that know 
s much about that (in the UK anyway), you would have to be pretty thick 
to fail it.

If anyone has attempted this sort of thing, I'd be interested.

I think more often than not trying to teach something to someone whose 
technical abilities are far below your own is more difficult than 
teaching PhD students things.

Dave K     MCSE.

MCSE = Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert.

Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

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