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#1 2006-10-10 12:12:32

Ricky
Moderator
Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 3,791

Speaking math

How do you specify a math equation involving parenthesis when speaking?  For example, how would say:

1.


2.

3.

Without using any symbols.  To start you off, it would be:

z is equal to x to the...

Now you finish the rest.


"In the real world, this would be a problem.  But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist.  So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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#2 2006-10-10 14:11:00

MathsIsFun
Administrator
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,664

Re: Speaking math

Very tricky .... I think it is the speed and emphasis you put on it.

1. z is equal to x to the power of y-plus-2onx
2. z is equal to x to the power of yplus2-on-x
3. z is equal to x to the y plus 2 on x

Certainly not a reliable way to communicate it. If you were forced to communicate it over the phone you would b saying stuff like:

1. z is equal to x to a certain power which is y on its own plus 2 on x... so you have ... (etc)


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#3 2006-10-10 15:03:35

polylog
Member
Registered: 2006-09-28
Posts: 162

Re: Speaking math

For maximum reliability:

1. z is equal to x to the power of open bracket y plus open bracket 2 divided by x close bracket close bracket. big_smile

Actual attempt:

1. z is equal to x raised to the sum of twice the inverse of x and y.

2. z is equal to x raised to the quotient of y + 2 and x.

3. z is equal to twice the inverse of x, plus the yth power of x.

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#4 2006-10-10 18:05:23

Ricky
Moderator
Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 3,791

Re: Speaking math

The key here is to use language which is natural.  I'm fairly certain that it just doesn't exist, which poses a problem for me.  I'll explain a bit more later, I can't give away too much yet and ruin the (possible) surprise.


"In the real world, this would be a problem.  But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist.  So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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#5 2006-10-10 21:25:25

mathsyperson
Moderator
Registered: 2005-06-22
Posts: 4,900

Re: Speaking math

It's highly informal, but you could do something like:

"Divide 2 by x, add y to that, take x to the power of that result and you have z."

It's not the best way of putting it, but it doesn't leave too much room for mistakes.


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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