9 thoughts on “A Message to Trigonometricians, Regarding Placement of Exponents”

Of course it is better., but nobody listens. After a bit of computer programming it is difficult not to put the brackets (US parentheses) around the x as well.

That used to bother me as a student. Maybe I’ve just grown accustomed to it.

But reconsidering it now, the placement says to square the function, so I think that’s why it works. It’s important to stress that sine is a function to students, otherwise they think they can “distribute” when they see sin(x+y). (It’s kind of ironic. All the time students get stuck with distributing in algebra, but suddenly when they see trig where they can’t, they finally recognize it…)

Some of the expressions in particle physics get so convoluted we write s sub theta as short hand for sin(theta). Then we write s sub theta exponent 2. That’s a lot cleaner. 🙂

s sub theta squared, with the exponent on the theta (i.e. on the subscript), would square the theta, though in practice we rarely square the angle. Guess it would help if I could write freehand. 🙂

Of course it is better., but nobody listens. After a bit of computer programming it is difficult not to put the brackets (US parentheses) around the x as well.

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That used to bother me as a student. Maybe I’ve just grown accustomed to it.

But reconsidering it now, the placement says to square the function, so I think that’s why it works. It’s important to stress that sine is a function to students, otherwise they think they can “distribute” when they see sin(x+y). (It’s kind of ironic. All the time students get stuck with distributing in algebra, but suddenly when they see trig where they can’t, they finally recognize it…)

Some of the expressions in particle physics get so convoluted we write s sub theta as short hand for sin(theta). Then we write s sub theta exponent 2. That’s a lot cleaner. 🙂

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Would “s sub theta exponent 2” mean the square of the sine of theta, or the sine of the square of theta?

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Square of the sine. (This is actual notation.)

s sub theta squared, with the exponent on the theta (i.e. on the subscript), would square the theta, though in practice we rarely square the angle. Guess it would help if I could write freehand. 🙂

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That’s definitely true. Perhaps, one day, WordPress will allow the use of pictures in comments . . . ?

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Re ” the placement says to square the function, ” , what exactly does this mean? Should we also be writing ln2x ?

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In the above the 2 is supposed to be superscripted

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Sine is the function; the square is on that. I don’t mind it. Though I really didn’t like this notation when I first learned it.

Personally, squaring logs as you suggest wouldn’t bother me. 🙂 I guess I’m flexible these days.

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I prefer to use parenthesis as little as possible, so my preference for writing this expression is not the same as yours.

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