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Workshop: Writing Mathematics in LaTeX

Presented by Bernhard Stöger

It's by no means easy for a blind person to write mathematical formulae such that they can be read by sighted people, and that they even look nice for them. The codes in which blind people normally write Mathematics are hard to read by sighted ones, and, if a sighted person managed to learn such a code, then it won't appeal to him/her from an esthetic viewpoint.
The LaTeX system helps to overcome this barrier: Because one of its most typical, and most attractive, features is its ability to display formulae written by a relatively simple syntax in a professional typesetting layout, you, as a blind person, may use the system to present formulae written by you to a sighted teacher or peer. He/she will admire the perfect layout, even though you didn't have to invest much effort in it.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • to understand that every mathematical formula, be it as complex as it might be, is composed of quite simple elements, which are represented in LaTeX by a fairly simple, and absolutely clear, syntax;
  • to write typical mathematical elements such as greek letters, sub- and superscripts, fractions, roots, and various kinds of delimiters such as parentheses, brackets, and braces of different size;
  • to integrate your formulae in your LaTeX document, either within the current text line, or especially exposed by centering and separation from the text;
  • to write appealing arrays of equations, where related portions of different formulae are well aligned like in a table;
  • to interpret error messages issued by LaTeX, and to correct them. The errors include syntax errors, but also errors issued by formulae that occupy too much space;
  • to automatically assign numbers to your formulae;
  • to orient yourself in the rich host of mathematical symbols that are offered by the LaTeX system.
  • LaTeX typically presents its brilliant layout in terms of a PDF file. Since, unfortunately, blind people cannot use Adobe Reader to see the mathematical parts of a PDF document generated by LaTeX, we shall use the TeX4HT program, together with the Internet Explorer plug-in MathPlayer, to listen to the formulae you created in LaTeX syntax.