Interview: Long-time LaTeX User

Christina Laternser has a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Economics. An experienced LaTeX user, she wrote her thesis on hyperbolic geometry using it, as well as her economics thesis. She has worked in data analytics, application development, and lectured in mathematics. She finds some time to do academic research as well.

While Christina has developed and managed global intra-company team collaboration tools over LAN, effectively a stripped-down version of Authorea, this is her first introduction to the collaborative platform for research.

I started using it my junior year of college, in 2009. So I’ve been a LaTeX user for a good five years.

Basically my advisor came to me and he said: “Look, you’ve got to learn this. If you’re serious about a career as a mathematician,” - which at the time I was - “there’s just no two ways about it. You have to learn LaTeX. It’s the tool a lot of mathematicians and scientists use to publish their papers.”

My first encounter with programming was Java. It was part of our curriculum for the math degree, so programming was not new to me at the time. So when I learned about LaTeX and started using it and immediately saw what it could do, I was really excited.

At first I was like, “aw no, I have to learn another programming language” - you know what college students are like.

But in hindsight, I’m glad I was pushed to use it. It’s such a versatile tool.

What I like about LaTeX is that if science has an artistic aspect, it would be LaTeX for me. I consider it a canvas for my “art”, I suppose. It gives you a tool to present your data in whatever way you want. Imagination is the limit.

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