Despite the fact that we are a side dedicated to photography, there are two fundamental halves to the discussions here: the artistic, and the scientific. As we grow as community, we are gaining more in the artistic area, however we have a very strong base of users who follow the scientific and mathematic discussions about photography, optics, sensor design and operation, etc. very closely.

I've noticed that some of the math related sites support LaTeX to create properly formatted math formulas. Is there any way we could have that feature added to our markdown capabilities? It would make answering technical questions that require math a whole lot easier, and the math more accurate. There have been a few occasions where trying to represent math in simple ASCII has resulted in confusion (missed parens, misunderstood operators, incorrect perception of priority, etc.)

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thank goodness for tex-SE then. (95% of what I learned about tex in college I've looooonnnggg ago forgotten.) –  cabbey Mar 18 '11 at 7:06
    
@cabbey: I totally agree! I've been perusing the TeX-SE site a bit lately, lot of good info there. –  jrista Mar 21 '11 at 18:12
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3 Answers

A mod on the GIS site made the same suggestion recently (see the comments to http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/3980/how-to-do-stereographic-projection-conversion-w-r-t-changing-point-of-projectio/6522#6522). Like the photography site, that community contains some who are mathematically oriented but most are not and most questions do not need any math to answer. Thus, my response there might be pertinent here:

I have thought about this for a while and would appreciate [TeX] support, but have held back with the suggestion because the TeX escapes ($ and $$) can surprise people who are not familiar with this mechanism. It would be nice if we had an option to turn the TeX support on or off for individual replies or threads, possibly by means of a specific tag ("math", perhaps).

Apart from this issue with escapes, though, I (for one) would welcome the ability to use TeX on the occasions when a mathematical formula would improve a reply.

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One of my answers today would have been improved by having latex-math support. It was quite a simple formula, but involved two fractions and looks messy with just ASCII.

I agree that the $-toggle might be confusing for users, so if we could activate support for individual answers, that would be very handy.

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As a mathematician, I am contractually required to encourage the community to add latex support.

It's truly the de facto standard for web math presentation, and is not difficult to learn. I don't know how often it will get used, but like a replacement battery, the moment you need it, is the moment you are glad you bought it.

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