For all you engineering, science, and math majors, do you prefer specialized software on laptops that help you write down equations, or do you still prefer the traditional pen and paper method?

LOL, this is the funniest thread I've seen a long while. I'll like to see someone try and type a lengthy derivation onto their laptop! Personally, I use paper and pencil (not pen), even for programming lectures.

Using LaTeX to take notes isn't bad once you're very familiar with it. I wouldn't suggest math lectures as a good time to try to get very familiar with it though.

well it depends on in what context you want to write out equations. if you just want to print out equations on paper, you can programs like mathematica or like they said, latex. but if you're doing this for notes in class, i'd go paper and pencil.

* Xthink's Mathjounal: Designed for a Tablet PC, a math program that allows a user to write down formulas and equations on his Tablet screen and provides you with a solution. http://www.xthink.com/

Yes, I'm definitely agreed about not using laptops for taking notes, unless one is very, very experienced with LaTeX (or MathType? I've never used it). But, for good-looking homework, it can never hurt to try LaTeX, given that everyone who's looking to go into academia in the sciences - or possibly even in some humanities disciplines - will need to learn LaTeX, sooner or later. LaTeX is a macro of Donald Knuth's TeX, which has a great website at http://www.tug.org/, if you're interested.

I had to turn in things done in LaTeX as early as the second week of my freshman year. As far as writing up papers for math and science classes goes, what are you gonna use if you don't use LaTeX? Microsoft's equation editor?

use pencil/paper during lecture and usually also for homeworks.

use mathematica or latex for writing lab reports or such things which need nicely written down equations.

for humanities or such classes where you need to take down written paragraphs etc., use a laptop if you type faster than you write. then you will have searchable notes and you won't get tired writing so much.

if you are good at mathematica shortcuts, you can probably use that to take notes during class, but there really is no need for that. and there is absolutely no reason to use latex during lecture. but if you have a tablet pc, then sure use it instead. then you get searchable notes and you also save some trees.

I have found Microsoft Equation Editor powerful enough for anything I need to write out. Since I make practice tests for myself and for people I tutor in math, I write equations on the computer frequently. Then again, I'm the guy who has used a computer for math homework before...long story but it is possible.

My handwriting is okay, but my 4s and 9s look a lot alike...

In my class, we've had to do several assignment using Mathematica. But then it's installed on the computers in the 24/7 labs, so we can just head there and do it.

Seriously, using a laptop to take notes in math class sounds and is ridiculous.

beck86nj -
well yes, but even in that case I would suggest using mathematica. for example, to put in a simple fraction, you have type \frac{a}{b}, that's 10-11 keystrokes. in mathematica you just hit ctrl+/ and you're done. and then of course there is the problem of not having realtime preview, working in two screens, one with code and another with the preview window etc.

I'm not trying to argue that LaTeX is allows you to create equations with fewer keystrokes than anything else, just that using LaTeX to take notes during lectures isn't anywhere near impossible if you know LaTeX well and can type well.

## Replies to: laptop for writing equations

I mean certain programs such as latex are good from small work, but its so much easier to write it out by hand.

* LaTeX: a typsetting program for math and scientific publications.

http://www.latex-project.org/

* Mathematica: a math and science program that both prints and solves equations on a regular laptop or desktop.

http://www.wolfram.com/products/mathematica/introduction.html

* Xthink's Mathjounal: Designed for a Tablet PC, a math program that allows a user to write down formulas and equations on his Tablet screen and provides you with a solution.

http://www.xthink.com/

Or pencil and paper.

Math/science courses are one of a few places where computers don't make much sense.

Mike

use mathematica or latex for writing lab reports or such things which need nicely written down equations.

for humanities or such classes where you need to take down written paragraphs etc., use a laptop if you type faster than you write. then you will have searchable notes and you won't get tired writing so much.

if you are good at mathematica shortcuts, you can probably use that to take notes during class, but there really is no need for that. and there is absolutely no reason to use latex during lecture. but if you have a tablet pc, then sure use it instead. then you get searchable notes and you also save some trees.

If your handwriting is illegible and your LaTeX skills rock, that's a pretty good reason.

My handwriting is okay, but my 4s and 9s look a lot alike...

Seriously, using a laptop to take notes in math class sounds and is ridiculous.

well yes, but even in that case I would suggest using mathematica. for example, to put in a simple fraction, you have type \frac{a}{b}, that's 10-11 keystrokes. in mathematica you just hit ctrl+/ and you're done. and then of course there is the problem of not having realtime preview, working in two screens, one with code and another with the preview window etc.

I'm not trying to argue that LaTeX is allows you to create equations with fewer keystrokes than anything else, just that using LaTeX to take notes during lectures isn't anywhere near impossible if you know LaTeX well and can type well.