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1.10.8 Other Mathematical Notation

Mathematica supports an extremely wide range of mathematical notation, although often it does not assign a pre-defined meaning to it. Thus, for example, you can enter an expression such as xy, but Mathematica will not initially make any assumption about what you mean by .

  • Mathematica knows that is an operator, but it does not initially assign any specific meaning to it.
  • In[1]:= {17 5, 8 3}


  • This gives Mathematica a definition for what the operator does.
  • In[2]:= x_ y_ := Mod[x + y, 2]

  • Now Mathematica can evaluate operations.
  • In[3]:= {17 5, 8 3}


    A few of the operators whose input is supported by Mathematica.

  • Mathematica assigns built-in meanings to and , but not to or .
  • In[4]:= {3 4, 3 4, 3 4, 3 4}


    There are some forms which look like characters on a standard keyboard, but which are interpreted in a different way by Mathematica. Thus, for example, \[Backslash] or \ displays as \ but is not interpreted in the same way as a \ typed directly on the keyboard.

  • The \ and characters used here are different from the \ and ^ you would type directly on a keyboard.

  • In[5]:=

    a \ b, a ^ b


    Most operators work like and go in between their operands. But some operators can go in other places. Thus, for example, < and > or \[LeftAngleBracket] and \[RightAngleBracket] are effectively operators which go around their operand.

  • The elements of the angle bracket operator go around their operand.
  • In[6]:= \[LeftAngleBracket] 1 + x \[RightAngleBracket]


    Some additional letters and letter-like forms.

  • You can use letters and letter-like forms anywhere in symbol names.
  • In[7]:= {, \[Angle]ABC}


  • is assumed to be a symbol, and so is just multiplied by a and b.
  • In[8]:= a b