J. Mayer
Posts:
159
Registered:
12/12/04


Re: why .ps ?
Posted:
Aug 5, 2000 6:04 PM


Hong Ooi <hong.ooi@maths.anu.edu.au> schrieb in im Newsbeitrag: jcioosknl3gie3v952ic9n8vlig77pkc3r@4ax.com... > On 05 Aug 2000 15:59:57 GMT, qscgz@aol.com (QSCGZ) wrote: > > >Stephen MontgomerySmith wrote: > > >QSCGZ wrote: > > >> > > >> why is most mathematical onlineinformation only available in > > >> .ps or .dvi encrypted format ??? > > > > > >In the old days (about the time just before I graduated), > > >mathematicians would write out their papers by hand, and > > >secretaries with special typewriters would type them out. > > >The process was expensive and time consuming. > > > > > >Then Donald Knuth came up with TeX. At first this required > > >large computers, but with time, it came more and more available, > > >(so that it was available for me to use just about in time for > > >me when I needed to write up my Ph.D.). > > > > > >This was a great language to write mathematics  it typeset > > >beautifully. You wrote something like > > >$$ \int_0^\infty \exp(x^2/2) dx = \sqrt{\pi \over 2} $$ > > >and sent this to the TeX program, and it got typeset beautifully. > > > >I{0 to oo} exp(x^2/2)*dx = sqrt(pi/2) > >or such works fine for me. > > Now: >  does that I{} thingy mean "integrate" or the Identity function? >  do the curly brackets denote a set, or do they have some sort of > special meaning? >  do the letters "pi" mean the mathematical constant 3.14159+, or the > multiplication of two variables, p and i? >  similarly does "dx" stand for the differential element, or two > variables d and x? >  similarly, couldn't you replace the "oo" with "o^2"? > > You may argue that for this example such things are clear from context, > but there'll be lots of situations where they _aren't_ clear. > Typesetting mathematical formulae so that the meaning is clear (or at > least isn't needlessly obfuscated) is not a trivial job.
That is why latex will compile the code above into typeset text, which is not ambiguous. > > >  > Hong Ooi  Centre for Maths and its Applications/ > hong.ooi@maths.anu.edu.au  Research School of Inf. Science & Engn. > Ph: (02) 6267 4140  Australian National University >  ACT 0200 Australia

