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Note that you do not need to have TeX installed, since matplotlib ships its own TeX expression parser, layout engine and fonts. Any text element can use math text. Regular text and mathtext can be interleaved within the same string.
TeX was designed for ease of typesetting books that contained mathematics. In addition to these, ConTeXt adds lot of macros to make the typesetting of mathematics easier. There are two kinds of math modes inline math and display math.
In LaTeX backslash is used to generate a special symbol or a command. The square root of a number can never be negative by definition. The root of a quadratic equation however, can be either positive or negative. Formulas that appear in text are called inline.
IPython now Jupyter was originally started by Fernando Perez as a way to improve the Python work flow for scientific computing. Since then it has grown in popularity, and gaining to the ability to make XKCD styled plots using matplotlib hasn't hurt. Since this site is primarily here to provide help in the use of IPython, and host discussions about current and future features, make sure that it is clear how comments are relevant to the original post or the previous comment.
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This article will detail how to work with math mode in LaTeX and how to display equations, formulas, and mathematical expressions in general. LaTeX uses a special math mode to display mathematics. Save the document press Ctrl-S or click File, then Save as 'mymath' don't include the quote marks in the name in a folder of your choice.
The font type LaTeX uses in math mode is somewhat special since it is optimized for writing mathematical formulas. Letters are printed in italics, with more space left in-between, spaces are ignored. Here is another example where switching to normal text is desirable.