Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A snippet from Marcus du Sautoy's The Number Mysteries, Chapter 3, in the section called HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT RANDOMNESS is shown below. My question is, why does the author use superscripts instead of subscripts here?

snippet from The Number Mysteries

share|cite|improve this question
4  
No other reason than personal preference. – Austin Mohr Sep 26 '11 at 3:44
10  
It's poor notation especially here though, with $2^N$ used in one line and $g^N$ in the next, with different meanings for the $^N$. – ShreevatsaR Sep 26 '11 at 3:45
2  
Maybe nobody bothered to proofread. – André Nicolas Sep 26 '11 at 4:36
1  
Or the proofreader didn't know any better, mathematically speaking. – J. M. Sep 26 '11 at 6:19
3  
@Andre and J.M.'s suggestions are surprisingly plausible. I recently sent in a proof-revision for a paper that I wrote where the journal's typesetters managed to systematically convert every instance of $T_pM$ (the tangent space of the manifold $M$ at the point $p$) to look like $T_{pM}$. A lot of crazy things happen at the type-setting stage for mathematics books and papers. – Willie Wong Sep 28 '11 at 9:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I used subscripts in the UK edition but the US edition seems to have flipped it to a superscript. Superscripts of course have a different meaning so it is definitely a bad choice. Thanks for pointing this out.

share|cite|improve this answer
    
Ha ha you guys have me to thank for bringing Marcus du Sautoy to Math.SE! – I. J. Kennedy May 11 at 16:42

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.