Have you wondered how people type math papers full of symbols like
In 1976 Donald Knuth faced a similar question. In 1969 he had written the first volume of The Art of Computer Programming which started as a single book on compiler design but turned into a seven volume set of which Volumes 1-4 are finished!). In 1976 the second edition of Volume 1 was to be released, but when it was typeset, Dr. Knuth couldn’t stand the way it looked:
I had spent 15 years writing those books, but if they were going to look awful I didn’t want to write any more.
— Donald Knuth
Rather than live with mediocre results, Dr. Knuth decided to write a word processing program (really, more of a word processing language) which could handle complex mathematical formulas. From scratch! No wonder he hasn’t finished the book he started 40+ years ago!
The outcome of Dr. Knuth’s efforts (with subsequent help from many others) are TeX and LaTeX. These are now the standard writing programs for mathematics, computer science, physics, and even hieroglyphs!
Of course there is a trade-off. LaTeX is not easy to learn at first unless you have someone explain the basics. But you’re in luck! On
Monday March 22nd, at 5pm in the 2nd floor computer lab in PHSC
Jeffrey Breeding and Thomas Madsen will be leading a Graduate Seminar on learning the basics of LaTeX and you’re invited. If you’re interested in learning how to make beautiful formulas in your writing, stop on by! And if you’re thinking of doing grad school, an REU, or anything which requires technical writing, then this is a can’t miss!
P.S. If you Google Latex, there isn’t many pictures you can show your mom! This is the first reasonable one we found: