[IPython-User] [notebook] centered equations

Fernando Perez fperez.net@gmail....
Fri Apr 26 23:18:56 CDT 2013


On Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM, Brian Granger <ellisonbg@gmail.com> wrote:
> It was a deliberate design choice.  Here was my logic:
>
> * In ipython all output is left justified
> * Output can be latex
> * Latex output should be left justified to be consistent with other output
> * Latex in markdown should also be left justified to be consistent with that

I'm actually not convinced by this argument: it is internally
consistent, but it's inconsistent with over 100 years of accepted
practice in mathematical typography.  I went over some materials on
this matter, including Knuth's seminal lecture on the creation of TeX
(http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~millerpd/docs/501_Winter08/Knuth79.pdf)
where he shows samples from the AMS Transactions going as far back as
1900, and not a single one uses left-aligned equations.

Similarly, every physics book and paper I can find uses centered
equations, and so do all the major journals in the world I can think
of, from PRL to Nature, Science and PNAS, and they do so consistently
regardless of what field the paper belongs to (hence these conventions
apply even for equations in papers in the life sciences, of which
Science, Nature and PNAS have a lot).

I've had several mathematicians complain to me about this as well, and
I think they are right: it's important to be consistent, but it's also
important to choose *what* to be consistent with.  I'd argue that
consistency with all established typographic convention on this matter
should carry more weight than consistency with Python's output...

Cheers,

f


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