sort it out, springer.

lots of good math textbooks have a list of symbols used through the book and their definitions/meanings.
what so few of them have however, is an index of symbols, with the number of the page they are first used on. it's very useful! they do it in every book for the words used in the book, so why not the symbols?

That's a good point. I had the most trouble with symbols and such in general when I was a Junior in college. I was studying some crypto stuff on the side, and I hadn't been exposed to most of the symbols. Trying to identify them was maddening. Eventually, I would just give up and ask someone, who would give me a look like, "are you simple or something?"

For example, I couldn't figure out that capital pi meant 'just like a capital sigma, but with multiplication' because I'd just never seen it before. It drove me nuts until I asked a professor who made me feel like a total retard for even asking.

Come to think of it, I think only two books (Joe Gallian's Abstract Algebra textbook and maybe my graduate analysis textbook) even had a legend of symbols, let alone a poper index.

--Mike Sheffler
... turning to the 3-D map, we see an unmistakable cone of ignorance
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