Saturday, July 9, 2016

On displaying theorems in slides

Last week, Freddy left this comment on On why I hate LaTeX/Beamer:
We have to think something about the theorem issue. If it is a mathematical presentation, the most important contribution is indeed a theorem. Think about a math thesis presentation: most results will be theorems :(
and I replied
I agree that in a math presentations theorems have a big role. The question is how you present them. As University of Manchester Mathematics Professor Nicholas Higham in "Handbook of Writing for the Mathemetical sciences write" writes "When you write a slide, aim for economy of words. Chop sentences mercilessly to leave the bare minimum that is readily comprehensible." Think about it, people may take their theorems directly out of their latex articles and dump them into their beamer slides without further thought. That is that Beamer fosters, but ultimately it Beamer is just a tool. As I wrote on the post, the responsibility lies on the person using it. 
Let me repeat this again
 Chop sentences mercilessly to leave the bare minimum that is readily comprehensible. – N. Higham
 If we slightly modify this, we can apply this advise to good slides
Chop sentences ideas mercilessly to leave the bare minimum that is readily comprehensible but meaningful.
Meaningful in the sense that the ideas retain their meaning, that ideas are not dumbed-down. Which brings me to the concept of atomic slides.
A slide should be like an atom: the smallest unit of self-contained meaning. And just as molecules are made out atoms, so are visual stacks.

There are so many different atoms! So decay faster than others, some are heavier than other, some bond easier than other, some don't bond at all. Just like the universe mostly made of Hydrogen, most slides should resemble that character. Other important atoms for life are Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen.

Back to Freddy comment, here is an example out of Nicholas Higham book. No f*king Beamer!

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