Entries Tagged ‘Physics’:

Easy Scientific Notation In LaTeX

I use LaTeX for all my physics homework and lab reports, and I’ll be using it for a master’s thesis in the next few years, so I’m constantly adding to my library of LaTeX commands to save some typing. Here’s a good one when you need to use scientific or engineering notation. Put the following in the document preamble (before \begin{document}):


\providecommand{\e}[1]{\ensuremath{\times 10^{#1}}}
 

Then, typing


The [111] crystal planes are 3.2\e{-10} m apart.
 

gives you: The [111] crystal planes are 3.2×10-10 m apart. whether or not you’re already in a math environment. If the exponent is just one number, you can omit the braces, like this: 3\e8 m/s. Cool, huh?

(Of course, for 10-10 m you can just use Angstroms, \AA. If you’re in a math environment, use \text{\AA}, or else the circle won’t line up with the A. That is, if you’re okay with non-SI units.)

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Bold vectors in LaTeX

Vectors can be typeset in LaTeX with the command \vec, which decorates the argument with a little arrow. This was cute at first, but it doesn’t look very good, especially in fractions. Textbooks use bold face for vectors, so here’s how to do that in LaTeX.

\let\oldhat\hat
\renewcommand{\vec}[1]{\mathbf{#1}}
\renewcommand{\hat}[1]{\oldhat{\mathbf{#1}}}

This also makes unit vectors (typeset with \hat) bold.

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