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Wed, Oct. 28th, 2009, 04:47 pm

So this page which lets you search for the LaTeX for a maths symbol is pretty cool but really what I want (based on experience of something a lot of maths students need) is a page that on a similar search gives known names and common uses of the symbol perhaps with links to definitions on say, MathWorld or to connected searches using www.wolframalpha.com/ or to useful resources on a whole host of sites that I commonly use and trust for mathematics. Of course, just searching some of these sites is hard (you would need simultaneous searching of the text and the maths in a variety of formats which might be in the test or in the source). This reminds me of the older idea I had of a search engine that allows me to specify trusted/relevant site collections and search only across those. The combination of that and the ability to classify handwritten math symbols (and more usefully short pieces of maths but this is a harder recogition problem because of the 2D problem) would be a very useful tool. Someone should do this.

Tue, Oct. 20th, 2009, 01:41 am

I asked, innocently, why Sheffield Wednesday is called that. I noted that, as a child, I had thought that perhaps there were less good (and therefore famous) Sheffield Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday teams which played on their respective days. Clearly however, no one names a football team after a day of the week. Of course not: Sheffield Wednesday is named after a Cricket Club (obviously) which was itself named after the day of the week on which they played their matches.

zootalures (who of course used the power of the internet to answer my original question) is now reading out facts about the names of other football clubs. Hopefully he will run out of interesting ones soon.

Mon, Oct. 19th, 2009, 01:59 am

Can anyone suggest a guide to general relativity for someone with a pure maths background? In particular I am interested in the exact solutions and their properties. There must be a book out there for someone who is happy with UG/PG algebra and analysis but who tended to avoid anything which involved a method and has a poor grasp of the applications to anything real (and particularly actually thinking about geometry) of the pure maths she did study. In case it helps I became interested but realised I needed to start somewhere more sensible when reading about the Gödel metric and other exact solutions which permit closed timelike curves. I was also amused by the page on the Novikov self-consistency principle (especially Polchinski's paradox and the solutions) but have no idea how this works mathematically or even if that article/the principle itself is something I should be bothering to read.

I suppose I should highlight that I am never going to be a physicist and have basically no interest in the actual universe or thinking about the theory purely in terms of what might be true. I am more interested in the variety of properties (topological? geometric? not really sure what question I am asking but it is to do with structure i think?) that the exact solutions permit.


Tue, Oct. 13th, 2009, 10:56 pm

It is possible that some of you might know the answer to this...  but I suspect the answer is that you can't currently do this. If you know this to be true a confirmation and any further information you have would be handy.

As explained at www.w3.org/TR/MathML2/chapter6.html#chars.BMP-SMP a fair number of quite important unicode symbols for mathematics are in plane 1/Secondary Multilingual Plane. It is also noted there that "support for these Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbol characters is not likely to be widespread until after public fonts covering the characters adopted for mathematics are available. " If you look at the wikipedia page for the Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbol you will see that in your browser you can't see a lot of them.

I am particularly interested in Linux text editor and terminal support although news on firefox (linux) and windows support is also useful if you have it. I have done some searching but am somewhat confused and all I seem to find is windows people asking similar questions and getting slightly better but still not that great answers and other confused people. I intend to keep trying to work out what is going on but any information you have is helpful. Maybe you are better at using google than me.

As far as I can make out there is no free font available (for linux? at all??) which has all of the plane 1 Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols but that the Stix font might well do when it is released any time soon (30 days from 29th Sept in I hope 2009... otherwise this clearly isn't happening). However, being a bit thick on fonts I don't really understand if the Stix fonts will work in Linux (though some sites seem to claim that this is one of the aims of the project). I also can't tell if the entire Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols is there because the chart loads and then kicks you off with a message about the Beta test (which is long over). Perhaps you beta tested? Or know someone who did?

Now, I understand that I need a font... I assume I also need a text editor/terminal that can display unicode and I have those but will they work directly with plane 1 out the box or am I still then waiting on something?

Thanks :)