Monday, May 27, 2024

Who Decided To Put Letters In Math

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Positive Numbers Negative Numbers

How do we use letters in math?

Real numbers whose graphs are to the right of 0 are called positive real numbers, or more simply, positive numbers. Real numbers whose graphs appear to the left of 0 are called negative real numbers, or negative numbers.

The number 0 is neither positive nor negative.

Watch the video for a simple explanation of positive and negative numbers on a real number line.

Greek Letters In Text Without Changing To Math Mode

You dont need to change to math mode every time you want to type a greek letter in normal text. Loading the textgreekpackage allows typesetting greek letters, generally just by adding a text-prefix to the letter name, e.g. for it would be:


The letters will adapt to the font style you are using

Furthermore, the author provides three different font types, cbgreek , euler, and artemisia. The font type can be change through the optional argument, when loading the package:


The differences are minor for most letters, check the documentation for details.

Complete command list :

Commands for greek letters in normal text.

Note, is an exception. Since the textcomp package already provided a command textmu, the author decided to call it textmugreek instead. Use the latter to avoid unexpected results.

Mathematics Science And Technology

Because of its abstractness, mathematics is universal in a sense that other fields of human thought are not. It finds useful applications in business, industry, music, historical scholarship, politics, sports, medicine, agriculture, engineering, and the social and natural sciences. The relationship between mathematics and the other fields of basic and applied science is especially strong. This is so for several reasons, including the following:

  • The alliance between science and mathematics has a long history, dating back many centuries. Science provides mathematics with interesting problems to investigate, and mathematics provides science with powerful tools to use in analyzing data. Often, abstract patterns that have been studied for their own sake by mathematicians have turned out much later to be very useful in science. Science and mathematics are both trying to discover general patterns and relationships, and in this sense they are part of the same endeavor.
  • Mathematics and science have many features in common. These include a belief in understandable order an interplay of imagination and rigorous logic ideals of honesty and openness the critical importance of peer criticism the value placed on being the first to make a key discovery being international in scope and even, with the development of powerful electronic computers, being able to use technology to open up new fields of investigation.

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The English Alphabet According To Math

I was talking to one of my friends recently about how most letters in the alphabet have some kind of connotation when you use them as a variable or in math in general. And then I had a free afternoon, and wrote down everything I could think of for each letter. I avoided physics conventions because those are just too much.

A/a – the area of a shape or surface

A,B,C,D – common sets, or often the angle to a shape in geometry.

C – often a constant, most often seen as the extra bit in integration. Also, the set of complex numbers is denoted with a fancy capital C.

a,b,c,d – very common variables in general, the coefficients in most quadratic equations or generally in algebraic expressions, used very frequently in geometry. A common convention is that the lower case is used for side lengths, and the upper case is used for Angles. Same convention for elements in a set.

d – added to another variable to represent change, or the derivative. For example, the change is height is dh.

e – almost always represents Eulers number, usually not used as a variable because thats confusing

f,g,h – predominantly used for functions: f, g), etc. Probably not used as coefficients in equations to avoid mix ups between y = mx + b notation and function notation.

h – also frequently used to denote height in geometry, and thus Calculus

I – often, an identity set or an identity of any kind is denoted with a capital i.

m – slope, general variable use

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One of the first to use letters as parameters in equations was Francois Viete . So use of letters in mathematics as variables, general numbers, and later for other things such as functions, operators, vectors, etc. started in renaissance.

One of the advantage of such use of letters is that we can write short, clear and unambiguous formulas e.g. Vieta’s formulas for sum and product of solutions of quadratic equation. Before the use of letters in mathematics, mathematicians didn’t write formulas, they would explain the formula with words. Pythagoras never wrote `c^2=a^2+b^2` but he said: “In any right-angled triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs.”

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Choosing Words Sometimes With Care

Poorly chosen words and phrases can interfere with the progress of mathematics. René Descartes showed us how.

While pondering solutions to algebraic equations, Descartes was compelled to consider the possibility that some numbers when multiplied by themselves could give a negative result. Certainly no real numbers, that is, no numbers on the familiar number line, behave that way. Descartes called the numbers imaginaire . In La Géométrie, his effort in 1637 to unify geometry and algebra, he explained that true or false roots can be real or imaginary.

The expression imaginary number caught on. Carl Friedrich Gauss, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, despised it. In 1831 Gauss wrote, If this subject… enveloped in mystery and surrounded by darkness, it is largely an unsuitable terminology which should be blamed.

Gauss preferred the less censorious term complex numbers, which includes both ordinary numbers and imaginary numbers appearing together in a single expression, such as two plus the square root of negative three. Regrettably, Descartess coinage remains in circulation, adding to the handicap that mathematics teachers endure as they try to convince some students that complex numbers are more than imaginary, having significant applications throughout the sciences.

British mathematicians of the 19th century loved inventing new words and phrases for mathematical concepts. Unfortunately, they got off to a rather bad start.

Wikimedia Commons

The New Language Of Mathematics

Something strange is happening in mathematics seminar rooms around the world. Words and phrases such as spider, birdtrack, amoeba, sandpile, and are being heard. Drawings that resemble prehistoric petroglyphs or ancient Chinese calligraphy are being seen, and are being manipulated like the traditional numerals and symbols of algebra. It is a language that would have been alien to mathematicians of past centuries.

Symbolic representation of words and ideas has an ancient history, from North American petroglyphs to early Chinese calligraphy . Modern mathematicians are exploring the usefulness of wordless symbols, including the birdtracks notation created by mathematician Predrag Cvitanovi.

Robert Garrigus / Alamy Stock Photo Wikimedia Commons

The words and symbols of mathematics are intended to stimulate thought, promote curiosity, or simply amuse. At times they ignite public imagination. Occasionally they interfere with understanding. Always they are evolving. Today, as the boundaries of mathematical inquiry expand, their evolution seems to be accelerating. The words and symbols of mathematics have helped bring the subject to its present, bountiful state. But the question remains: Can the symbols of mathematics stand up on their own, without any words to support them?

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Wellesley Senior Pushes For Female Representation In The World Of Chinese Math

The Qiuzhen College of Tsinghua University, one of the two premier universities in China, announced in 2019 that they would accept around 100 high school students aged 14-18 every year in an effort to prepare the next generation of budding mathematicians. When Luna Lyu 22 first heard about the gender ratio in the first accepted class, however, she was appalled.

In 2020, from a pool of around 3,000 of the brightest math students in the country who had passed a preliminary test, the college accepted 80. Only one was female.

Im studying graduate level math right now, and all the theorems Ive seen so far are named after men, Lyu said. Im currently applying for math PhD programs in the US, and on the MIT admission webpage, it encouraged female applicants to apply. So I realized that there must be a push for women in math in the US. But I was born in China, and I know theres no kind of policy like this back home.

Lyu was able to speak with the Secretary General of the Tsinghua Educational Foundation, Wei Yuan, who introduced her to Shing-Tung Yau, the founder of the Qiuzhen College program and the William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University. When Professor Yau heard Lyus concerns, he agreed that something had to be done. Eventually, Yao and Lyu decided that ten spots in Qiuzhen would be reserved for female students. The students who received these spots, moreover, would be chosen through a female-only math competition sponsored by SIM.

+ Addition Plus Positive

Quickest way to enter math equations in Microsoft Word (365, 2016, 2013 etc)

The addition symbol + is usually used to indicate that two or more numbers should be added together, for example, 2 + 2.

The + symbol can also be used to indicate a positive number although this is less common, for example, +2. Our page on Positive and Negative Numbers explains that a number without a sign is considered to be positive, so the plus is not usually necessary.

See our page on Addition for more.

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Turning English Into Algebra

To turn the English into Algebra it helps to:

  • Read the whole thing first
  • Do a sketch if possible
  • Assign letters for the values
  • Find or work out formulas

You should also write down what is actually being asked for, so you know where you are going and when you have arrived!

Also look for key words:

When you see

$N = $12

So Joels normal rate of pay is $12 per hour


Joels normal rate of pay is $12 per hour, so his overtime rate is 1¼× $12 per hour = $15 per hour. So his normal pay of 40 × $12 = $480, plus his overtime pay of 12 × $15 = $180 gives us a total of $660

More about Money, with these two examples involving Compound Interest

How Do I Construct A Real Number Line

Here are three steps to follow to create a real number line.

  • Draw a horizontal line.
  • Choose any point on the line and label it 0. This point is called the origin.

  • Choose a convenient length. Starting at 0, mark this length off in both directions, being careful to make the lengths about the same size.
  • Now that you have created a number line, it is time see how points on a number line are defined.

    Real Numbers

    A real number is any number that is the coordinate of a point on the real number line.

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    How Did Letters Become A Part Of Math Why Did Someone Decide To Start Adding Letters To Algebra

    Who are the experts?Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team.

    One of the first to use letters as parameters in equations was Francois Viete . So use of letters in mathematics as variables, general numbers, and later for other things such as functions, operators, vectors, etc. started in renaissance.

    One of the advantage…

    Genesis And Evolution Of The Concept

    In the 7th century, Brahmagupta used different colours to represent the unknowns in algebraic equations in the Brhmasphuasiddhnta. One section of this book is called “Equations of Several Colours”.

    At the end of the 16th century, François Viète introduced the idea of representing known and unknown numbers by letters, nowadays called variables, and the idea of computing with them as if they were numbersin order to obtain the result by a simple replacement. Viète’s convention was to use consonants for known values, and vowels for unknowns.

    In 1637, René Descartes “invented the convention of representing unknowns in equations by x, y, and z, and knowns by a, b, and c“. Contrarily to Viète’s convention, Descartes’ is still commonly in use. The history of the letter x in math was discussed in a 1887 Scientific American article.

    Starting in the 1660s, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz independently developed the infinitesimal calculus, which essentially consists of studying how an infinitesimal variation of a variable quantity induces a corresponding variation of another quantity which is a function of the first variable. Almost a century later, Leonhard Euler fixed the terminology of infinitesimal calculus, and introduced the notation y = f for a function f, its variablex and its value y. Until the end of the 19th century, the word variable referred almost exclusively to the arguments and the values of functions.


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    Empirical Laws For Mathematical Notations

    In the study of ordinary natural language there are various empirical historical laws that have been discovered. An example is Grimms Law, which describes general historical shifts in consonants in Indo-European languages. I have been curious whether empirical historical laws can be found for mathematical notation.

    Dana Scott suggested one possibility: a trend towards the removal of explicit parameters.

    As one example, in the 1860s it was still typical for each component in a vector to be a separately-named variable. But then components started getting labelled with subscripts, as in ai. And soon thereafterparticularly through the work of Gibbsvectors began to be treated as single objects, denoted say by or a.

    With tensors things are not so straightforward. Notation that avoids explicit subscripts is usually called coordinate free. And such notation is common in pure mathematics. But in physics it is still often considered excessively abstract, and explicit subscripts are used instead.

    With functions, there have also been some trends to reduce the mention of explicit parameters. In pure mathematics, when functions are viewed as mappings, they are often referred to just by function names like f, without explicitly mentioning any parameters.

    But this tends to work well only when functions have just one parameter. With more than one parameter it is usually not clear how the flow of data associated with each parameter works.

    k:=i x s:= x]

    Further Reading About American English And British English

    If youre interested in finding out more about the differences between American English and British English, check out these resources on Daily Writing Tips:

    7 British English Writing Resources, Mark Nichols this post rounds up a bunch of style guides and copy editing handbooks that writers working for British publications should find helpful

    One L or Two?, Maeve Maddox there are a lot of words that can take an ll or an l depending on whether youre writing for a UK or a US audience. Maeve lists some common ones and explains the general rule to follow.

    Worshiping and Kidnapping, Maeve Maddox should you add an extra p when adding an ing to words like worship and kidnap? It depends! Maeve outlines the issue here.

    Program vs. Programme, Ali Hale both British and American English use program when talking about computers, but British English uses programme for many other areas . This post explains the difference, and how to use program as a verb.

    Punctuation Errors: American and British Quotation Marks, Daniel Scocco while both American and British English use punctuation marks in a broadly similar way, theres a key difference when it comes to punctuation and quotation marks. Daniel explains it here.

    Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily!

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    Chapter : The Nature Of Mathematics

    Mathematics relies on both logic and creativity, and it is pursued both for a variety of practical purposes and for its intrinsic interest. For some people, and not only professional mathematicians, the essence of mathematics lies in its beauty and its intellectual challenge. For others, including many scientists and engineers, the chief value of mathematics is how it applies to their own work. Because mathematics plays such a central role in modern culture, some basic understanding of the nature of mathematics is requisite for scientific literacy. To achieve this, students need to perceive mathematics as part of the scientific endeavor, comprehend the nature of mathematical thinking, and become familiar with key mathematical ideas and skills.

    This chapter focuses on mathematics as part of the scientific endeavor and then on mathematics as a process, or way of thinking. Recommendations related to mathematical ideas are presented in Chapter 9, The Mathematical World, and those on mathematical skills are included in Chapter 12, Habits of Mind.

    Or * Or Multiplication

    Copy pasting Math Formula in Word | Latex in Word | MathML

    These symbols have the same meaning commonly × is used to mean multiplication when handwritten or used on a calculator 2 × 2, for example.

    The symbol * is used in spreadsheets and other computer applications to indicate a multiplication, although * does have other more complex meanings in mathematics.

    Less commonly, multiplication may also be symbolised by a dot . or indeed by no symbol at all. For example, if you see a number written outside brackets with no operator , then it should be multiplied by the contents of the brackets: 2 is the same as 2×.

    See our page on Multiplication for more.

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