HW: An introduction to $\LaTeX$

The same way HTML is a coding system for creating web pages, $\LaTeX$ is a coding system for creating math articles. In this assignment, you will spend some time practicing the environment so you will be able to use it to create your future lab reports. The assignment is due Wednesday, September 18.

$\LaTeX$ has been around for a long time, and while I expect it to change in the coming years, it is a really useful tool to know about. When writing in $\LaTeX$, you can generate theorems and other special text blocks using the \begin{theorem}...\end{theorem} construction. And you can generate equations by placing special code between $ signs. For example, $\alpha^2$ becomes $\alpha^2$.

You can download the $\LaTeX$ system to your computer, but it’s a lot easier to get started using it online at writelatex. Just sign up for an account, and then create a new paper!


Write a one-to-two page $\LaTeX$ document by copying some of the text and equations from the Harmonic Series article that we read last week. Your writing doesn’t have to make any sense — that’s not the point of this assignment! Instead, I’m asking you to show me you can use some of the common features of $\LaTeX$.

In your document, be sure to include at least one of each of the following:

  • A title and author
  • A section and subsection
  • A paragraph with some inline equations
  • A big gnarly centered equation with lots of symbols
  • An equation with a fraction in it
  • An equation in an align environment with multiple lines
  • A theorem, lemma, or definition
  • A short table


Here is our in-class example.

Here is the LaTeX cheat sheet handout.

Here are some standard references: The (not so) short introduction to LaTeX, the NASA guide to LaTeX commands, and The comprehensive LaTeX symbol list.