Re: Newby Q: How to specify reals
- To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
- Subject: [mg110541] Re: Newby Q: How to specify reals
- From: AES <siegman at stanford.edu>
- Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2010 04:27:51 -0400 (EDT)
- References: <email@example.com>
In article <hvs7n2$8v0$1 at smc.vnet.net>, "David Park" <djmpark at comcast.net> wrote: > When working with complex expressions your best friend is the ComplexExpand > command. For some reason, this command doesn't immediately jump to the > notice of beginners and this leads to frequent questions on MathGroup. It doesn't immediately jump to the notice of beginners because: 1) Unlike familiar commands or functions or operators such as Sin, Cos, Exp, SquareRoot, or even Re[-] or Im[-] or complex conjugate, there is no such command or operator in "ordinary mathematics." No one _says_ "ComplexExpand" in ordinary mathematical discourse, and the term would not have been encountered by the ordinary high school or even college graduate. 2) It's bizarrely named. SeriesExpand _expands_ into a series. ComplexExpand[Re[expr]] trims, or selects. 3) And, because of Mathematica's generally dysfunctional documentation -- e.g. "ComplexExpand" is not even mentioned in tutorial/ComplexNumbers and if it's mentioned in ref/Conjugate, it's buried somewhere down in the nested and closed subsections and therefore cannot be _searched_ for using any kind of Find command. Would anyone suggest that the occurrence of "frequent questions on MathGroup" might indicate a weakness, or even a product defect, in this particular Mathematica design decision?