Re: ÷ vs :

On 8 Sep 2023, at 0:10, Neil Soiffer wrote:

> As always, Cajori is an interesting read for those who want to know 
> something about the history of math notation. It is also a reminder 
> that math notation is an evolving topic. It gives a little comfort to 
> me that if we don't get the naming of intents right, we will be in 
> good company for not getting it right the first time.

Indeed the Cajori page really shows that things have emerged from a full 
mess and that notations remain to be invented.

I was presenting the diversity of math cultures in a workshop on 
Wednesday and tried to justify why  it is acceptable that math notations 
is diverging. Among the arguments:

- Math is learned extremely early, that means that it is at the same 
time as language for much of the concepts (so contexts of learnings are 
different, and a big need of simplification is there)
- Math notation is often connected to elements of the language (so it 
- Math notations are considered to be explainable: At least in the 
course of a textbook it is not rare that authors will introduce a new 
notation in a proper documented fashion. That means that forthcoming 
authors have this right too!

The last statement is reassuring to me. There’s a lot of notations to 
be enhanced for supporting understandability. The future has a some 


Received on Friday, 8 September 2023 05:53:44 UTC