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Robin Fairbairns <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 26 May 2001 11:07:46 +0100
text/plain (38 lines)
> On 05/21/2001 at 11:20 PM, Lars Hellström <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >At least about this aspect of it we can do something. The guidance given
> >by LaTeX manuals and the like on what is sensible and what is not is, in
> >this area, rather important.
> It may be important to LaTeX designers, but it is totally irrelevant to
> working mathematicians, who will use whatever symbols they deem
> appropriate with no deference to anyone else's notions of propriety.
> Collaborations have been known to spend more time arguing about notation
> than proving theorems.

the great thing about a markup language like latex is that you can
define a macro \thing, and each collaborator can use his/her own
representation of \thing.  what's more, at publication time, you may
find that some other group has cornered the market in the
representation of the object you defined as \thing, and you can _all_
change to the now "generally accepted" version.

semantic markup works: i commend it to you all...

(i first learnt of set notation from reading whitehead and russell in
my spare time at school.  they used (as it were) \epsilon for set
membership; if they'd been marking up using (la)tex they could easily
have used their own \belongs which they would have defined as a mathop
variant of \epsilon, but we would redefine for the 2001 edition (!) as
\in or whatever.)

in short, i don't think latex actually _needs_ to descend to the level
of the mathematicians' squabbles about notation: latex markup can deal
with more-or-less anything.

the unicode bods _do_ exist at that level, though.  fortunately we
merrily sail along at a far higher level.