How do I enter groovy typeset mathematical symbols in my post?

You can typeset groovy mathematical symbols in your post using LaTeX snippets.

So, what's a LaTeX snippet?

First, LaTeX is a widely used document preparation system. When a mathematician writes a test or a quiz, a paper or a book, they probably use some version of LaTeX. Thus, LaTeX is really quite a huge system including tools for chapters and sections, tables of contents and indexes, automatic numbering, incorporation of images, and a whole lot more. Most importantly for us (and the main reason LaTeX was originally developed), LaTeX includes commands to create mathematical symbols and place them together elegantly.

Thus, when I say "LaTeX snippet" I simply mean a "short bit of dollar sign delimited code that represents one piece of typeset mathematics".

OK, do you have an example?

Here's a simple example: If $f(x)=x\cos(x^2)$, then
$$\int f(x) dx = \frac{1}{2}\sin(x^2) + c.$$

That sentence has two typeset portions - one inline and one block. To generate that sentence, I typed the following:

Here's a simple example: If $f(x)=x\cos(x^2)$, then
$$\int f(x) dx = \frac{1}{2}\sin(x^2) + c.$$

You can see that the two typeset portions are generated by two bits of dollar sign delimited text. The inline typeset portion is delimited by single dollar signs, while the block typeset portion is delimited by double dollar signs. Those are the LaTeX snippets. The text between the dollar sign delimiters is LaTeX code. While it takes a bit getting used to, it's not so far off from what you might type naturally. One conspicuous thing you might notice are the back-slashes (\), which is typically used to indicate that some special command is about to occur. For example, an integral sign (\int) or a fraction (\frac).

Awesome! Where do I learn more?

Keep in mind that you don't need to learn all of LaTeX just yet; you just need a little reference to consult so that you know how to enter formulae. You could probably find quite a few such references online but here's one nice one.

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