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Topic: why .ps ?
Replies: 39   Last Post: Aug 9, 2000 3:13 PM

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 Stephen Montgomery-Smith Posts: 2,351 Registered: 12/6/04
Re: why .ps ?
Posted: Aug 6, 2000 3:25 AM
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"J. Mayer" wrote:
>
> 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 Montgomery-Smith wrote:
> > > >
> > > >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.

> >

(I think my news server is missing a few messages in between
here, so I don't know who I am really replying to.)

Mathematical notation has evolved over the years, and it is
really very neat how effective it helps you to think. Years
back, I thought that I would always write x to the power of
y as x^y (with the carot), it seemed so much more logical.

But I found that suddenly I was unable to solve even the
simplest equations.

The psychological effect of the notation we used is not to
be underestimated. It can make a great difference to both
being able to understand, and to do mathematics.

The notation for integral, with the elongated S, and the
dx at the other end, and the limits placed at the top and
bottom of the S, is really inspired. I really think that
if mathematicians wrote

I{0 to oo} .... dx

that it would have actually set mathematics back a few years.

Before TeX came along, good typesetting of math was very
expensive. Publishing math Journals was very pricy.
But it was considered worth the price.

In those days, if you wanted a copy of the paper, you either
asked the author for a copy, or went to the library and
copied it.

Very few people considered writing in ascii. It
just was not a good communication medium.

(For example, I sometimes get students who insist on
submitting their homwork written on a text based
computer. I find them hard to read, and usually full
of mistakes, which the student would not had made had
he used pen and paper.)

Now TeX has really freed us. Anyone can post their
papers on the web, and anyone can freely read it.

Programs that typeset TeX, or preview dvi files, or
print them out, are free, and will operate on all but
the very oldest of equipment. (I found a 286 amply
powerful, although AMSLaTeX and LaTeX-2e killed it.)

No-one can complain that TeX is elitist. Every effort
has been made to make TeX and its related programs
as accessible as possible. It is available for the
common operating systems, and if your particular
computer is not covered, you can get the source code.

If you want a nice front end to TeX, you can buy the
commercial packages like PC-TeX, but the free packages
are only a little less user friendly (and I find the
free stuff less buggy).

--
Stephen Montgomery-Smith
stephen@math.missouri.edu
http://www.math.missouri.edu/~stephen

Date Subject Author
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 John Bailey
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 Patrick Reany
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/5/00 G. A. Edgar
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/5/00 Jeremy Boden
8/5/00 Stephen Montgomery-Smith
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 Hong Ooi
8/5/00 J. Mayer
8/6/00 Stephen Montgomery-Smith
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/5/00 Adam Atkinson
8/5/00 QSCGZ
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/7/00 Adam Atkinson
8/9/00 Ray Vickson
8/5/00 Steve Lord
8/5/00 Ilia Kapovitch
8/6/00 Jamas Enright
8/6/00 David Eppstein
8/6/00 G. A. Edgar
8/6/00 QSCGZ
8/6/00 Patrick Reany
8/6/00 David Einstein
8/6/00 Steve Lord
8/7/00 QSCGZ
8/7/00 Stephen Montgomery-Smith
8/6/00 Lynn Killingbeck
8/6/00 Stephen Montgomery-Smith
8/7/00 QSCGZ
8/6/00 Stephen Montgomery-Smith
8/7/00 Patrick Reany
8/5/00 Severian
8/5/00 Lynn Killingbeck

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