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How physicists were writting papers in the old times?

  1. Feb 2, 2013 #1
    Now it's very easy to write mathematical symbols and print them but how the physicists like Einstein, Schrodinger, Dirac, Haisenberg, Bohr and others at that time were writting papers. How people were writting any books that include mathematical symbols at all?
    What kind of technology did they use?
     
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  3. Feb 2, 2013 #2

    Ben Niehoff

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    It is just as easy to print math symbols as it is to print letter symbols. You can do just fine with movable type, or other technologies.

    My guess is that drafts were done on typewriter, with space left for equations and math symbols, which were then written in by hand. In even earlier days, drafts would be handwritten entirely. But the final print would be done professionally with printed text and symbols.

    Math fonts have certainly changed throughout the years. Dig up some old papers to see what used to be en vogue.
     
  4. Feb 2, 2013 #3

    f95toli

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    Note that this is not THAT long ago, it was before my time but not by much (ten years).

    People were submitting manuscripts written using typewriter on special paper (with hand-written math symbols) until the late 80s (and in some cases even later).
    I have collegues who are now in their mid-40s who remember doing this when they were PhD students.
     
  5. Feb 2, 2013 #4

    G01

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    They also had to walk to the lab every day and it was uphill both ways and always snowing...

    We have it too easy. These days there is a latex plugin for walking uphill in the snow: \snow{\uphill\bothways}
     
  6. Feb 4, 2013 #5

    FlexGunship

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    And 30 years from now, I'll be telling younger engineers "you don't know how lucky you have it... back in my day MatLab was just text files... and SolidWorks models were shown on a two-dimensional screen!"

    "Okay, grandpa, go play with your touchscreen phone..."
     
  7. Feb 4, 2013 #6

    jtbell

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    When I was a grad student c. 1980, most professors wrote their drafts by hand on yellow pads or whatever, and gave them to a departmental secretary to type up. The secretaries used IBM Selectric typewriters with interchangeable typeballs that included Greek letters and many common math symbols. They could do subscripts and superscripts by using half-height line spacing. For very complex equations, they left blank spaces, and the professors wrote them in by hand.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2013 #7

    G01

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    You mean you actually had to touch the screen back then?!
     
  9. Feb 6, 2013 #8

    The fancy stuff was printed via hand engraving of metal, I believe.

    Many portraits and so forth were also produced this way.
     
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