You can often write a simple algebraic equation in words. For example Newton's F=ma is "Force equals mass times acceleration. But is that really any clearer to you than F=ma?
It seems to me that, as we are all taught nowadays in school enough maths to be able to understand F=ma, it is not unreasonable to expect that readers can deal with it. But more complicated things will lose readers, inevitably.
No, I confess I did not know "a" meant acceleration. A minor detail? At any rate....
Thank you, exchemist. Your point is well taken but it (or more complicated ones) can be a foreign language to anyone who has never had occasion to learn all the math symbols. Not everyone follows the same path through high school and/or university. Not everyone is exposed to he same terms. It depends on their intentions for the future. Or, bless his heart - iike Gazziniga - was not born with a math bubble.
How would you react if a lecturer was going along fine with a lecture and you were really enjoying his ideas when he suddenly said to to the class "nos dawch" and walked out of the room? Unless you know Welsh, you might just think he got tired of all of you and left. All he said was "good night".
I know. It is a double-edged sword. And a lot depends on the category. Chemistry, physics - they are going, by necessity, to be loaded with equations and we who know nothing of the fields or the math that is attached to them keep a distance. But if someone cannot describe the trajectory of a baseball or why oxygen contributes to rust without equations, I have questions for him and they aren't "please translate".
But that's the simple part. Please rethink Gazzaniga's comment. I'd love to know how much that is accepted by the scientific community but that's another topic. The point he is making is that there are people who simply cannot grasp higher math. And, forgive me for reminding you (I know you know it), there is a whopper of difference between what is taught in high school and what is learned in high school.
So, all Gazzaniga and I are saying is "look, this is why I don't understand you. Then, if you want the person to understand, you translate. If not, you don't. But if you can write a 1,000 word report and use plain English until the very end where you revert to putting it all in equations .....
I am leaving in just a minute , Just this which I may have posted before. I have a book written by Albert Einstein. It is called Relativity - the Special and the General Theory. This book has 178 pages and only in the last five or six pages do equations begin to appear. Since he managed to write that much before he needed equations, could he not have translated those?
Oh, by they way, in case anyone does not know this book, it was written in 1915, specifically for those not versed in physics or higher math. If Einstein could do it .....
Well, as I said, it's a two-edged sword. I just had to vent my frustration after trying to read something that I really did want to read. I finally gave up. If you use words I do not understand, I have dictionaries. Where do I go to translate a long equation?
Nos dawch. :-)
Edited by hazelm, 24 June 2018 - 04:31 PM.