Some notes on LATEX document preparation...
back home... A LATEX-document is an encoded text-file that's been compiled with the TEX-compiler to yield professional, type-setting standard output suitable for scientific reports. Look at the bottom at this page to find out how to install LaTeX on your Windows computer! A PDF formatted example of such an output can be downloaded here: reportexample.pdf. These were the steps necessary to produce such an output:
  1. edit the "reportexample.tex" file to your heart's content;
  2. on the Unix-prompt, type "latex reportexample.tex" (without the quotes). (You'll also want satdat.eps, a figure that gets included in the document). You have now generated a file named "reportexample.dvi" as well as a couple of other files (not interesting).
  3. Convert the dvi-file to PostScript by typing "dvips reportexample.dvi -o". Note that the *.dvi-file can be viewed on the Physics-mainframe with the program xdvi.
  4. View the PostScript file using GhostView or print it by typing "lpr".
I suggest that you search the WWW with any or all of the keywords "Latex, Leslie Lamport" (he is the original author of LaTeX, and wrote a book on its use), and I'm sure you'll find lots of resources on Latex. If you find it too complicated to get figures into a Latex-file, then I suggest that you just leave some space for figures, and glue them in. For more reference on LaTeX, search Google for "latex manual", for example. One good hit was: this one. Some people have also asked me about general UNIX/Linux tutorials, and again, I have to refer to the internet for information. Try, for example. Note that this site refers to "telnet" alot. This is an obsolete form of connecting between computers, and is now replaced by "ssh" (Secure SHell). It's activated pretty much the same way, but uses encryption instead of clear-text. You can even download an SSH-client for your windows computer at Here's how to put a figure into your LaTeX document.

You need to have the figure in Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format. We've seen already how to save graphs from gnuplot in EPS. Most any software on unix or Linux will save to PostScript format if you simply print to a file. PostScript and EPS are nearly identical, but EPS has just a little more information in it. You can convert a PostScript file to EPS with: ps2epsi outfile.eps on physics.

Now comes the trick to put this INTO the LaTeX-document. Proceed by adding the following line to just beneath the "\documentclass..." line:

Then, wherever you want the figure to appear, insert the following:

\caption{Appears as Fig. Caption under the Drawing}

Some hints and comments about the actual content of the report...

  • It might be useful to look at some real physics papers. You can find a page of links here, where you can view and download all sorts of physics papers.
  • Try to avoid language like "I measured this; I did that..." and opt for the passive voice ("It was found that; Measurements showed that...") or at least "We measured this...", etc. The passive voice gives an impression of objectivity.
  • Provide DETAILS in the description of your apparatus (e.g. discriminator threshold used, dimensions of detectors, etc.) and avoid referencing to the lab manual!
LaTeX on your Windows computer

LaTeX is installed on all UNIX and Linux systems, but must be downloaded for Windows machines. You have (at least) three options:

  1. The easiest option will probably be to use "WinEdt". They have a 30 day free trial version on their website:
  2. One implementation is called "miktex", and although the installation process is a little complicated, it's supposed to work well once you've got it installed. Please search Google for "miktex latex", or see this link.
  3. Another option for laTeX on Windows, it's called "Scientific Word". Try and see if you can find the free, 30 day trial download. This program is easier and nicer in general than miktek, but it might be harder to find the download... In the end, the easiest way is to come in to physics and do it here. :)

copyright © 2002 anders ballestad