This is an odd question, yet I must still inquire: will math ever stop using paper? In the writing industry, paper is dead; we do all our writing on computers. Yet with all of mathematics' complex symbols and equations, I don't doubt that we must continue to write them out on paper. Writing is so efficient on computers, but math equations are slow and monotonous to type out. At the same time, are there better ways to do math?

EDIT: According to some of these comments, I should have been more clear. I do indeed mean before the earth is swallowed up by the sun.


closed as off-topic by TheGeekGreek, Namaste, Will Jagy, Rebellos, Jack M Nov 19 '18 at 19:27

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is not about mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." – Namaste, Will Jagy, Rebellos, Jack M
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ You mean, before or after the heat death of the universe? $\endgroup$ – Servaes Nov 19 '18 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ Ever heard of $\LaTeX$? $\endgroup$ – TheGeekGreek Nov 19 '18 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ @TheGeekGreek Knowledge of LaTeX does not imply that you no longer make all your fast scribbling and graphics on your paper napkin during lunch ... $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Nov 19 '18 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ For beginners, there is real value in practicing drawing graphs such as $y = x^3 - 3 x$ by hand, on graph paper. It gives concrete meaning to later calculus studies. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Nov 19 '18 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ Certainly as long as I live I will use paper for sketching and rough work before typing it up. I also use paper for my writing as well to make outlines and organize my thoughts. Math was done before paper existed though and I don't see it being required, just useful. $\endgroup$ – CyclotomicField Nov 19 '18 at 18:33

Mathematics isn't particularly unique on this front.

While professional writers are often typing out their work and yet occasionally when you are driven to jot down an inspired idea you just reach for the closest writing instrument. Computer, Napkin, Journal, your hand, whatever. My experience has been that professional mathematicians are very much the same way. All communication between professionals is basically typed. The symbols required are not really much of an issue given our typesetting languages. We use latex here (And so do all mathematicians really) and I can produce the oddest of symbols pretty darn quickly.


Integrals and greek letters are pretty tame in comparison to what the technology is capable of...

Anyway just like the writing industry the fact that we CAN communicate very efficiently via computers doesn't really stop most mathematicians from asking the waiter for a pen so we can jot a thought down on the back of a napkin before the thought is lost into the ether...

Paper writing isn't going away for either discipline. But correspondence is now almost exclusive digital for both disciplines.


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