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  1. Apr 16, 2004 #1


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    Hello sci.physics.strings!

    I'm Warren (aka "chroot"), co-administrator of www.physicsforums.com, a site devoted to enabling global scientific communication for both professionals and laypeople.

    As part of our service to the professional physics community, we are providing a web-based interface to the two moderated physics newsgroups, sci.physics.research and sci.physics.strings.


    Our web-based interface is special because it is capable of parsing LaTeX mathematics directly from a usenet post and displaying them as real images. As you all know, string theory is couched in very notationally-complex mathematics, and our forum software allows you to communicate that mathematical content effectively.

    Our site uses a heuristic approach to locate math in a post and render it properly. For example, our latex parser will automatically identify small piece of math like [itex]G^{\mu\nu}[/itex] and even longer ones like [itex]\gamma \equiv \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-v^2/c^2}}[/itex] and display them properly, inlined with the text. It will also properly identify display-mode math, like this:

    [tex]e^x = \sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{x^n}{n!} = \lim_{n\rightarrow\infty} (1+x/n)^n[/tex]

    Because it is a heuristic search, it will invariably make some mistakes. In particular, it can be confused by improper LaTeX code, but does its best to figure out what the user intended. It will never fail on properly-formatted LaTeX.

    On physicsforums.com, we simply delimit sections of LaTeX with [ tex ] and [ /tex ] tags (without spaces) for display-mode TeX and [ itex ] and [ /itex ] tags (without spaces) for inline TeX. When you compose a post on physicsforums.com, please use those tags to properly delimit your LaTeX. You will find that usenet posts originating on pf will have those tags removed to make it easier for the general public to understand the message.


    Sci.physics.strings is a strictly-moderated discussion group. While physicsforums.com is well-moderated, it is not as strongly moderated as is sci.physics.strings. Physicsforums.com in no way avoids the sci.physics.strings moderators. Here is how posting occurs on physicsforums.com:

    1) The user composes a post, and it is stored on our forum software normally.
    2) Every ten minutes, our forum software syncs with the usenet server, and uploads any new posts.
    3) When a post is sent to the usenet server (and from there to the sps moderators), it is "soft-deleted" from our forum, and will no longer appear to users.
    4) When the post is accepted by the sps moderator and received back from the usenet, the post is "un-deleted" on our forum, and will reappear in its original form.

    In other words, posts made through physicsforums.com are not visible even on physicsforums.com itself unless the sps moderator accepts them. Our goal on physicsforums.com is to provide a 1:1 correspondence with the usenet group itself.


    I would like to thank Eric Forgy for his many excellent ideas about to integrate physicsforums.com with the usenet. I would also like to thank Lubos Motl, Urs Schreiber, Haelfix, and the many regular contributors to sci.physics.research and sci.physics.strings who are helping to make physicsforums.com the best it can be!


    Please give our service a try! You can view (and post to) sci.physics.strings here:


    Please let me know if you have any comments or questions! You can email me directly at craddock@vt.edu, or send me a private message on physicsforums.com as "chroot."

    - Warren
  2. jcsd
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