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Full Version: how should a calculator parse bracketed numbers? Do we need a mode setting
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Many calculators have an implied multiply and mathematicians may not be surprised if

But physicists sometimes use a similar syntax to represent uncertainty in a measurement:

Is understood to mean something like
a number between 3.14+0.0023 and 3.14-0.0023
(Perhaps that's not quite right, but its not 3.14*23).

So if I am trying to parse a number in a cell or a string or a file and it contains

(1) how can I tell what it means?
(2) how can a calculator tell what it means?
(3) do any calculators have a maths/physics mode?
(4) Or is there a subtle difference in the syntax that I have misread?
AFAIK, 3.14(23) would mean a number between 2.91 and 3.37. I've not seen anything alike used for implied multiplication in mathematics yet.

(01-07-2016 06:29 AM)walter b Wrote: [ -> ]AFAIK, 3.14(23) would mean a number between 2.91 and 3.37.

You're right. Detailed explanation in the following Wikipedia article, under Measurements:

Little is known about how people comprehend mathematical expressions.

pg. 206, Ch. 22 Enlightening Symbols by Joseph Mazur.

ANY of the numerous books on the history of mathematical notation is edifying with respect to the vagaries of notation employed in computational expressions. I have doubts the FINAL and definite tome is written.

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