[OS X TeX] Imposing Latex on authors of articles
ludwik kowalski
kowalskil at mail.montclair.edu
Tue Feb 26 15:58:59 CET 2008
I am a new subscriber. About a week ago I successfully downloaded and
installed Latex software on my new iMac. Then I started to learn how
to program in Latex language. So far I complied only several short
input files. What follows is an extract from notes I am composing for
myself. Do you agree with my observations? If not then why not?
Thanks in advance,
Ludwik
= = = = = = = = = = = =
Item 15
$ \int \sqrt{\alpha^{2} + x^{2}}\,dx $
The above command will produce the integral sign followed by the
square root and the dx. The expression between the square brackets
will be changed and placed under the square root.
1) Typing something without seeing the representation at the same time
(as in writing by hand or with a word processor) seems unnatural to
me. Writing usually goes along with thinking; we often think better
when we write. There is nothing wrong with this. It would probably be
better not to merge the process of typesetting with the process of
mathematical thinking. Mental energy of users of mathematics should be
used on mathematics itself, not on nitty-gritty rules, commands, and
error messages. By learning Latex language one does not become a
better mathematician, physicist or engineer.
2) In my opinion dissertations written with word processors should be
accepted by universities. Likewise, papers written with word
processors should be accepted by editors of scientific journals.
Neatly handwritten formulas, or formulas composed with tools available
in word processors, are usually sufficient to communicate mathematical
ideas. They can be shown as illustrations, or turned into final form
by professional typesetters, either manually (as it used to be), or
with tools like Latex. Shifting the burden on authors does not seem
reasonable.
3) Creating Latex input files with formulas is very demanding and
error-prone. Promoters of Latex often write that it allows
mathematicians to concentrate on mathematics while formatting is
performed by computers. Yes, formatting is performed by computers but
computers must be instructed by humans. Instructing computers is
demanding and error-prone. Composing Latex files does not help me to
think about mathematics, or about anything else described in a
document I am creating. On the contrary, it prevents me from thinking
about the content.
Ludwik Kowalski, a retired physisist
5 Horizon Road, apt.2702, Fort Lee, NJ, 07024, USA
Also an amateur journalist at http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/
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