A Conversation for Astronomical Units

Stuff Made Simple

Post 1

Dave Evans

Now *that* is what I like to see. A mysterious term, explained in about a dozen words. (I for one had no idea what an AU was, about five minutes ago).

My old maths teacher used to have a good handle on this stuff. He used to say something like, "This is actually rather easy to understand, so mathematicians have made this symbol for it, just to confuse the plebs."


Stuff Made Simple

Post 2

Doppleganger

I think your Maths teacher was more right than he knew!


Stuff Made Simple

Post 3

The Cow

Agreed completely.
Physicists are almost as bad: practically every letter, roman and greek, is used as a unit [N: newtons] or a standard letter [Q: charge ???], a constant [pi, Epsilion 0] or something else.
Perhaps we should start using runes when you don't know what the value you are trying to calcuate is.


Stuff Made Simple

Post 4

Doppleganger

I think I need a new keyboard!!


Stuff Made Simple

Post 5

SetupWeasel

You're wrong. Physicists use letters two or three times, and, not only that, different areas of physics will use different variables for the same value.

Case in point: T.

T can mean tension or kinetic energy, but kinetic energy can also be represented by KE or K, and tension can be described by a force F (tension is simply the force that a string exerts).


Stuff Made Simple

Post 6

The Cow

Exactly. At least with (a rune looking like >< superimposed) you know EXACTLY what it means. No sub/superscripts, no Ee problems, ... it means whatever you want it to mean!


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