Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We Demand New Variables!!!

This post is something that has been on my mind for a very long time.  In the sciences there are a number of symbols that are used a lot. Here are a few of them. 
αa πnηh µuUψ rγyxzλYXZ2 tτTI1lij νvV ωwW κk φσQθϑ εE ρpPζ   I have grouped them this way to demonstrate my issue with them.  In this pristine setting I have a problem telling some of these apart.  Now think about a classroom with a teacher with bad handwriting, while you try desperately to copy the notes.  Additionally, many of these are used for very different things across disciplines.  On top of that some of these just love showing up intertwined.  Nu and v just love hanging out, as do Rho and p.  As do Epsilon and E in fact σ = Eε.  Now when you add in all the different professors notations for matrices, some like brackets, some like curved brackets and some like parentheses. Then you add in notations for vectors, scalars, time derivatives, partial derivatives, subscripts, and superscripts. I have had these include lines over and under, dots above, apostrophes, and tildes.  I have had problems that have derivatives, partial derivatives, regular and capitol letters of x, y, z, u, v, w and p as well as Nu and Rho.

At the end of the list I have added Zeta, because I have had no two professors every draw it the same and once it took me two lectures to figure out that the squiggly the teacher was drawing was Zeta.

1 comment:

  1. So true. I'm a bit guilty of this myself. My r,n, h's are often pretty bad, and u's and v's are a lost cause. But this is a serious problem!
    Just for fun, by the way, try to write "minimum" in script lettering.