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Thesis Help

  1. Jul 9, 2008 #1
    Hi all,
    I am writing up parts of my MSc thesis in physics early and it has become apparent that I need some software to produce some reasonable quality diagrams in the write up. The diagrams will mainly be 2D but need labels in most places with Greek characters, arrows etc.. Any ideas on software that would be good. I was thinking something a bit above MSpaint :redface:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2008 #2
    Never tried it, but I heard/read about it. Have you tried gnuplot?
     
  4. Jul 10, 2008 #3

    robphy

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  5. Jul 10, 2008 #4
    well my diagrams will mainly be about drawing elliptical orbits and the like with labels. Hope that helps. Thanks for the suggestions thus far
     
  6. Jul 10, 2008 #5

    robphy

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  7. Jul 11, 2008 #6

    minger

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    LaTEX, LaTEX, LaTEX!!!! It can only produce simply diagrams on its own, but as someone who is defending in the next week or so, I recommend to everyone I know who is doing a thesis to use LaTEX for the writeup.

    It was designed for writing technical papers. It outputs straight to pdf, which is nice for printing and sending to people without MS Office. The equation editor is the best around (it's the same thing they use here on these boards). It also puts figures and diagrams in the most efficient place in the thesis, no worrying about tying to fit things on certain pages.

    Mostly though, the seller for me is references. You have a bibliography file, which contains stuff that looks like:

    Code (Text):

    @article{paper2008,
     author = "whoever",
     title    = "whatever title",
     journal = "journal here",
     volume = "500",
     pages  = "100--108",
     year   = "2008"
    }
     
    Then to reference that paper, you simply do:

    Code (Text):

    As seen in Whoever\cite{paper2008}.....
     
    Since a proper reference page for a thesis is alphabetical, it will automatically generate and rearrange the references each time you compile the thesis. You can also reference sections of the thesis and equations in the same way.

    The version that I'm using is available at:
    http://www.cs.mun.ca/~donald/metathesis/

    There is a great couple hour tutorial at:
    ftp://ftp.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/info/lshort/english/lshort.pdf

    Sample diagram made in LaTEX:
    http://www.cs.mun.ca/~donald/metathesis/thesis-11.png
     
  8. Jul 13, 2008 #7

    ssd

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    Try "Graph", a freeware.
     
  9. Jul 13, 2008 #8

    matt grime

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    LaTeX outputs to dvi. pdflatex outputs to pdf, and pslatex, well, you can guess.
     
  10. Jul 17, 2008 #9

    minger

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    Right, the package that I'm using has a make file that does it all automatically.

    Code (Text):
     make thesis.pdf
    and voila!
     
  11. Jul 21, 2008 #10
    I am definately using Latex for the write up but I am wanting a graphics software for the diagrams. I think asymptote might be on the cards team
     
  12. Aug 4, 2008 #11
  13. Aug 5, 2008 #12

    Kurdt

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    Why not try your universities audio visual department. I know in my university they are responsible for coming up with a lot of the graphics for departmental poster presentations. The advantage is you will achieve a really professional looking graphic for your thesis. The downside is that even as a student you will probably have to pay for the service. Anyway, just a thought that may be worth checking out. Failing that ask your supervisor for advice.
     
  14. Aug 5, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    I'm not actually sure why something as simple as PowerPoint (or any of the other similar software) wouldn't suffice for such diagrams. If not, you might be able to find Adobe Illustrator on a computer in a university lab, which would give you a lot of options for drawing such diagrams and labeling them. Actually, you could also do it in Photoshop (with the advantage of saving it to a lot of different formats to insert whichever version is most compatible with the rest of your thesis). Neither of them would require learning a lot of new commands like LaTex might, and which you might not want to waste a lot of time learning if the rest of your thesis doesn't require it. Neither is worth buying just for making 2D diagrams though, so I'd recommend just finding a university computer lab where you can use them.
     
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