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- anonymous

Who came up with the convention of naming variables x and y, constants a, b and c (as in the equation y = ax^2 + bx + c), and using random greek letters to make math seem esoteric?

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- anonymous

- schrodinger

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- anonymous

oh and also using i, j, k, and m or n to denote integers

- anonymous

Lol

- anonymous

and using the letter u when applying the chain rule/integration by substitution

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- anonymous

Go to bed dude :P

- anonymous

Dont be rude =)

- anonymous

It was a joke :D

- JamesJ

I did. It was a rainy afternoon, I was 5 and bored.
I thought to myself: "I know! I'll standardize mathematical notation!"
So I wrote it down with crayon on some very nice linen paper. My mother thought I was crazy, but little did she know.
I posted it on a pin-board at my older brother's display at the science fair, and wouldn't you know it, a visiting professor of mathematics saw it, copied it, published it under his name, and the rest is history.
But now you know the truth.

- anonymous

LOOOOOL

- anonymous

I like to use 't' first while substituting and then 'u'

- anonymous

Nice@James

- anonymous

and now we all know how old does James is ..

- anonymous

but I thought it was some fellow named 'Descartes'

- anonymous

This notation are being used more than 200 years ...

- anonymous

dude there was not single people ..

- anonymous

Descartes Rule of ......something I forgot the name I have a poor memory :(

- anonymous

Change your Memory =/

- anonymous

http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/24241/why-do-mathematicians-use-single-letter-variables

- JamesJ

Indeed, there was not a single person. The process for this sort of this is very archaic, but people imitate other people and influential publications, and these things grow up over time.
It's costly to change a convention once it's established in as much as the convention has value and conveys information; if you don't use the convention the then you need to explain your notation more often and the probability that what your writing will be -widely read diminishes.
I'm sure there are several very boring Masters theses and probably even a book or two written about this sort of thing.

- anonymous

Probably written by a fellow named 'Dan Brown' :-D

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