Tuesday, October 26, 2010

why did mathematicans feel the need to use x and y as variables

Considering I never saw a mathematical equation involve words, what possessed those numerically privileged (no, not $) to use x and y as variables. Why not just 'a' or 'b'? Sure those are used but not as much as 'x' and 'y'. If I was doing operations on text comparison I can see why bc letter frequency factors into ease. So, the letters 'q' and 'z' would be good variable choices.

Does anyone really know how x and y came to convention?

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