[plt-scheme] Re: Why "lambda"?

From: Bill Wood (william.wood3 at comcast.net)
Date: Sun May 31 18:34:26 EDT 2009

   . . .
> Yes the symbol matters.  I would love to see someone experiment with
> using Chinese characters and see what happens.  It's just abstractions
> right?  Then one should have no issue picking up the following two
> equations with equal ease. 
> 能 = 量光^2
> E = MC^2
> At least physics equations' choice of symbols often have direct
> meanings, which aids understanding.  Math symbols often appeared
> arbitrary.

This is an interesting example.  For me, presuming I can distinguish the
character boundaries correctly, the equation using Chinese characters
carries the same mathematical content as the one with Roman characters
-- something equals the product of a second something and the square of
a third something.

Of course the interpretation as a statement about the physical world is
lost.  But isn't that the reason that elementary algebra texts carefully
distinguish between (formal) equations and formulas?  The intent seems
always to be to convey the idea that the letters in the formulas carry
interpretation information in addition to the formal mathematics.

Bill Wood

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