How important does everyone feel that equations are here? Other communities like physics and math uses MathJax, which will render equations typed in LaTeX. That has to be added to the site code, and I admit I do not know how this is done.

As a PSA, I use the quicklatex site when the MathJax isn't available. You can paste LaTeX there and then it will produce an image with a URL, you can use the URL directly to put the equation in your answer. It's certainly better than writing it out in plain text.

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    $\begingroup$ We need them. This IS the Rocket Science after all! $\endgroup$ – SF. Jul 18 '13 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ Having access to MathJax is a great means to improve clarity of expression. Oh, and to boast that my Delta-Vee is much greater than yours. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jul 23 '13 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Pinging again (puhleese, pretty please...) Answering gets very difficult without MathJax. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jul 27 '13 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Dear AlanSE... First, I support this. And, you can find a script in Manish's post over Chem.SE. It lets your browser to render MathJax for you. The problem is, it isn't automatic. Add the script to your bookmarks and click it whenever you see a page with $$ around. As it's browser-based, it can be used anywhere (say, Facebook). Just a suggestion for now :D $\endgroup$ – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Aug 9 '13 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Robert! Thanks a bunch! $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Aug 11 '13 at 11:07

Nice Job. You put together a good proposal. This has been…

$$ \Huge DONE $$

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    $\begingroup$ "That’s one small step for $$\text{[a]}$$ man, one giant leap for $$\text{[Space Exploration]}$$ mankind!" $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Aug 11 '13 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave: What's the $$ double line for??? (Flagging as obsolete) and not constructive :P $\endgroup$ – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Aug 11 '13 at 9:29

I feel that they're very important here. Take, for example, this type of question:

With an ion drive engine, how long would it take to get to Pluto?

Or better yet,

How much uranium would I need to get to [planet]?

In both these cases, formulas would be very important. I was quite disappointed when I tried to use the $$ syntax on a formula, only to have it fail.


Space exploration is physics, so math notation is just as important here.

I don't understand the hesitation. I can see no degradation in performance on the math, physics, or mathematica stackexchange pages.

No apparent downside, and dramatic benefits in the clarity of answers.

Answer: very important.


MathJax will slow down the page rendering speed by some margin.

AFAIK the sites supporting MathJax are: Math, Physics, Stat, Mathematica, CS, EE, and some beta sites like scicomp and cogsci.

However I don't see a significant slow down (except Math.SE) while my browser rendering a page having equations on these sites vs other sites (like TeX.SE). I have a 5 year old desktop using Ubuntu 12.04 and Chromium running on Q6700+4G DDR2 800Mhz RAM.

I suggest that if this SE reaches a point that there are tens of questions which can be answered with equations, MathJax support should be implemented.

  • $\begingroup$ Here is an example of a question that gets considerable slowdown from equations, because several people wrote an answer heavy on equations: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/8074/… I agree, questions like that are a rarity. $\endgroup$ – AlanSE Jul 17 '13 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. I made a new answer using community-wiki, you can edit it now as well. :) $\endgroup$ – Shuhao Cao Jul 18 '13 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Deleted comments accordingly. As for slowdown, while displaying equation-heavy page is not a big problem, editing an equation-heavy post is. While writing physics.stackexchange.com/questions/46318/… I was really getting ired at the lag, but I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jul 18 '13 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. Haha, in math.SE there are all kinds of slowdowns. Some equation heavy answer I wrote does get severe slowdown: for eg this one. What I do is normally making the draft in a text-editor on my computer then ctrl+c/v. $\endgroup$ – Shuhao Cao Jul 18 '13 at 15:42

I think it would be a good feature, but I'm not sure how many questions we will have here that would make use of the ability to write equations. If we were to have a number of those types of questions, I feel it would be very useful.

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    $\begingroup$ I could imagine quite a few questions may have a need for it - my question would be how many of those would be a better fit on Physics? $\endgroup$ – Rory Alsop Jul 16 '13 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ @RoryAlsop Physics also incorporated the failed astronomy questions into it. Between all 3 topics you could draw Venn Diagrams. I expect to see many questions that could go either way. $\endgroup$ – AlanSE Jul 16 '13 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ I asked the meta question anyway - meta.space.stackexchange.com/questions/12/… $\endgroup$ – Rory Alsop Jul 16 '13 at 22:36

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