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With the new Help Center (and even before, if I am not mistaken) it appears possible to insert (with community manager assistance) new sections that are site-specific (and moderator editable). I propose that we request the addition of a "Notation" (or similarly named) section. Physics.SE and chemistry.SE both have such sections, and while basic information about MathJax/$\LaTeX$ and pointers appear in our on-topic page, in my opinion it makes more sense to have a dedicated section about this.

Below I have essentially just copied the content of the physics.SE notation page, with only minor changes. It is Community Wiki, so please improve it!

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What notation and symbols are commonly used here?

Many posts at Mathematics Stack Exchange include mathematical notation, written using $\mathrm\LaTeX$ commands surrounded by dollar signs. If you see dollar signs with what appears to be gibberish between them, it just means that MathJax, the math rendering we use, isn't working properly for you. There are two basic types of formula:

  • Inline formulas are surrounded by single dollar signs. For example, $f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c$ renders as $f(x)=ax^2+bx+c$.

  • Block formulas are surrounded by double dollar signs. For example, $$x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4ac} }{2a}$$ renders, on a separate line, as $$x = \frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4ac} }{2a}.$$

Greek letters are mostly written by simply spelling them after a backslash with capitalization indicated by first letter. For example, $\alpha \beta \Gamma \Delta$ renders as $\alpha \beta \Gamma \Delta$.

For a quick tutorial and command reference, please see this FAQ item. See also this discussion on the Meta site for some additional pointers and references.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've changed $\LaTeX$ to $\mathrm\LaTeX$, because the (La)TeX-code \LaTeX renders not as $\LaTeX$. $\endgroup$ – Américo Tavares Jun 21 '13 at 21:46
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I've added a page about notation for you; it's moderator-editable, so if you want to add more information, change examples, etc. you'll be able to do that without contacting the SE team. Enjoy!

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