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Icebreaker

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- Thread starter Icebreaker
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Icebreaker

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Pyrrhus

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"While I was doing all this trigonometry, I didn't like the symbols for sine, cosine, tangent, and so on. To me, "sin f" looked like s times i times n

times f! So I invented another symbol, like a square root sign, that was a sigma with a long arm sticking out of it, and I put the f underneath. For the

tangent it was a tau with the top of the tau extended, and for the cosine I made a kind of gamma, but it looked a little bit like the square root sign.

Now the inverse sine was the same sigma, but left -to-right reflected so that it started with the horizontal line with the value underneath, and then

the sigma. That was the inverse sine, NOT sink f--that was crazy! They had that in books! To me, sin_i meant i/sine, the reciprocal. So my symbols

were better."

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Feynman is famous for the slash notation.That is really useful.

Daniel.

Daniel.

- #4

Icebreaker

Sounds like pretty good ideas, actually!

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HallsofIvy

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Of course if anyone non-famous were to come up with a new notation, it wouldn't seem so brilliant.

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Pyrrhus

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HallsofIvy said:especially"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman", he was more than a little wacky. And quite ready to assume that anyone who disagreed with him, even on non-physics subjects, was a fool.

Yes, Halls, i agree, he was an interesting fellow. Did you like the [itex] e^x [/itex] series chapter? i found it very entertaining how Feynman played with logs to trick those poor math students :rofl:

- #8

Icebreaker

z-component said:Of course if anyone non-famous were to come up with a new notation, it wouldn't seem so brilliant.

Well even with Feynman's reputation I doubt the math community's going to change.

Seriously, though, what happens if I have the variable s, i, n, c, o, t or a and I need to use the trig functions? Ambiguity.

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Daniel.

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Zurtex

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Zurtex said:

Not only that, but a standardised set of notations which are readable, form **that** special integral part of communicating things to others. If i developed a set of notations that only i can understand, then i would have to attach a new thread on this board, ask ppl to look into those notations before i could even ask a simple problem such as

why is lim_{x>0} sinx/x = 1 ??

Ofcourse according to feynman thats nonsense and actually,

lim_{x>0} sinx/x = sin

-- AI

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Curious3141

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arildno

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Just ridiculous, whatever his name was.Richard Feynman said:"While I was doing all this trigonometry, I didn't like the symbols for sine, cosine, tangent, and so on. To me, "sin f" looked like s times i times n

times f! So I invented another symbol, like a square root sign, that was a sigma with a long arm sticking out of it, and I put the f underneath. For the

tangent it was a tau with the top of the tau extended, and for the cosine I made a kind of gamma, but it looked a little bit like the square root sign.

Now the inverse sine was the same sigma, but left -to-right reflected so that it started with the horizontal line with the value underneath, and then

the sigma. That was the inverse sine, NOT sink f--that was crazy! They had that in books! To me, sin_i meant i/sine, the reciprocal. So my symbols

were better."[/I]

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Icebreaker

Curious3141 said:somany other notations that any normal person would consider fairly unambiguous ?

We bow to him and surrender our possessions.

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matt grime

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Personally I loathe such things as Bra and Ket as they make stuff unnecessarily complicated. In fact for a long time I failed to understand any quantum mechanical literature I happened across until someone pointed out that the Bra could be simply thought of as an element of the dual space, which perhaps reflects my education. It may seem obvious to people who like to assign too much meaning to a symbol, but not to me. Seems like physicists like reinventing the wheel though.

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arildno

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Another thing is that "Bra"&"Ket" are stupid and childish names. :grumpy:

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matt grime

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I just hope that none of Mr. Feynman fans here get irritated due to this conversation. Its just that, I (and few other members of the forum) dont think that Mr. Feynman's criticism of standard notations is justified. This conversation in no way undermines Mr Feynman's credentials as one of the greatest physicist to have born on earth. I am Feynman fan myself and whatever physics i know came from Feynman (and Resnick & Halliday). I have read "Surely you are joking Mr. Feynman" and i adore the way he dedicates himself to whatever work he takes up (be it picking locks or making sketches). I just thought let me post this up before someone starts a flamefest.

-- AI

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matt grime

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Well, in English English bra is female underwear and kex or kegs are male underwear, so when I say I think they are silly names I genuilenly mean they are silly because if the (unintentional?) p[artial homophonic double entendre, and they aren't Feynman's invention anyway.

In any case far too much mathematics is hidden under unnecessarily complicated notation, and adding yet more unnecessary notation to the already unnecessary stuff that exists should be frowned upon. As we all know, the hardest thing in mathematics is getting good notation.

This shouldn't detract from the argument that in this cases there is good cause to be annoyed at [itex] \sin^{-1}[/itex] being used for inverse sin if we are to use the convention that [itex]sin^2(x)[/itex] is not going to be sin(sin(x)).

In any case far too much mathematics is hidden under unnecessarily complicated notation, and adding yet more unnecessary notation to the already unnecessary stuff that exists should be frowned upon. As we all know, the hardest thing in mathematics is getting good notation.

This shouldn't detract from the argument that in this cases there is good cause to be annoyed at [itex] \sin^{-1}[/itex] being used for inverse sin if we are to use the convention that [itex]sin^2(x)[/itex] is not going to be sin(sin(x)).

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HallsofIvy

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krab

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HallsofIvy said:especially"Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman", he was more than a little wacky. And quite ready to assume that anyone who disagreed with him, even on non-physics subjects, was a fool.

I've met Feynman and can say that is an unfair characterization. He loved to talk with people about any subject. He never assumed a person to be a fool. But if you were "talking through your hat" or, IOW, expressing an opinion that you had not thought through, he would find you out in short order.

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krab

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A strange thing to say. In physics, math is utilitarian. Names, like symbols are either helpful or not. I found Bra and Ket quite helpful in kick-starting my learning of QM.arildno said:Another thing is that "Bra"&"Ket" are stupid and childish names. :grumpy:

- #23

krab

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I agree with Feynman's objections, but LaTeX gets around this problem by using different fonts for such functions. However, most newbies to LaTeX don't use this feature. Hence, sin x is correctlymatt grime said:This shouldn't detract from the argument that in this cases there is good cause to be annoyed at [itex] \sin^{-1}[/itex] being used for inverse sin if we are to use the convention that [itex]sin^2(x)[/itex] is not going to be sin(sin(x)).

[tex]\sin (x)[/tex]

while most people on this forum incorrectly use

[tex]sin (x)[/tex]

In the latter expression, LaTeX treats sin as s times i times n. Click each symbol to see how it's done; it's simply an extra backslash.

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arildno

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Well, why not, for example, use R&L as in "right"&"left"? (there are many choices..).krab said:A strange thing to say. In physics, math is utilitarian. Names, like symbols are either helpful or not. I found Bra and Ket quite helpful in kick-starting my learning of QM.

This is at least as visual and utilitarian, and avoids splitting up a perfectly nice English word into two faintly amusing ones.

- #25

krab

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Well, OK, I admit physicists tend toward faintly amusing names. Hence "Charm" and "Strange" etc. for quarks.arildno said:This is at least as visual and utilitarian, and avoids splitting up a perfectly nice English word into two faintly amusing ones.

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