[OS X TeX] Imposing Latex on authors of articles
Herbert Schulz
herbs at wideopenwest.com
Tue Feb 26 23:06:10 CET 2008
On Feb 26, 2008, at 8:58 AM, ludwik kowalski wrote:
> 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.
>
Howdy,
I think you mean braces not square brackets.
> 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.
>
You quickly get used to the representation of mathematical symbols in
TeX. The typesetting of mathematics is of much higher quality than any
equation editor I've seen; spacing rules, etc., are better.
> 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.
>
Maybe they should be accepted, but I've seen Word documents that get
reformatted depending upon the printer chosen and even which computer
(and I DON'T mean Mac vs Windows) is used to display the paper. I've
had documents change formatting the next time I opened them. Etc.,
etc., etc.
> 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.
I don't think so. You also have fine control over how the equation
appears so it says exactly what it should. I remember when a thesis
had to be typed by someone on a list and typing pages were $0.50 each
and the multiple times I had to have a page retyped to get the
equation correct.
Good Luck,
Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest.com)
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