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The Joy of $x$, by Steven Strogatz

Steven Strogatz has written a book based on his series of columns for the New York Times, The Elements of Math. The book’s called The Joy of $x$, and Steven’s recorded a trailer for it. I bet he hopes the trailer will convince you to buy the book.

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Let’s talk about X


It’s an unpresupposing little letter, $x$. In fact, that’s the reason we use it to represent something we don’t know. But how do you write it down? When Vijay Krishnan tweeted a link to an American college professor’s page on mathematical handwriting, I was shocked to learn that he thought adding a hook to a simple cross was sufficient to differentiate letter-$x$ from times-$\times$.

So I asked our Twitter followers how they write $x$. The Cambrian explosion of diversity in answers I received was eye-opening – I’m glad I asked!