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We got MathJax enabled. Today I learned that there is even more! We could have support for Physical units enabled as part of the mhchem package! We use physical units a lot and demand the SI formatting. Let me quote from Worldbuilding:

Chemistry Stack Exchange is obviously the main consumer of this feature and has a nice FAQ on its use. The chemists get two things that we don't:

  • \require{mhchem} is implicit... you get support automatically without having to require it explicitly.
  • They get physical unit formatting via $\pu{273.15 K}$, which currently renders as a grumpy error on WB.SE and WB meta that looks [with only mhchem enabled] like this mathjax markup error

Can we have that too? Pretty please? I am tired of having to type $273.15\ \text{K}$ and such, especially if it is complex things in the unit!

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  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if we need to ask someone directly (either on Meta or the TL), for example Catija $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Greenonline: Mods can escalate Meta posts for staff attention by adding the [status-review] tag, as detailed in this MSE post: What posts should be escalated to staff using [status-review], and how do I escalate them? $\endgroup$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @V2Blast - OK, just seen this. OK, acting upon it shortly, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ OK Trish, I've added the status-review tag, a month too late... sorry for not acting earlier... it's been too hot to think (that's my excuse that I'm sticking to) :-) $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Greenonline no problem, we are few, and it is low priority. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:43

3 Answers 3

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The deed is done. Behold! In all its glory:

$$\pu{273.15 K}$$

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    $\begingroup$ Nice one! Thanks Slate :-) $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 20:21
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I support this request for people that do want to use the support for physical units.

(vote up this answer if you are in favor)


For values and units I haven't used the MathJax notation (only for complex equations), I've always used the html characters for formatting values and units.

The example from the question would be written as:

273.15 K

which renders to "273.15 K"

or in Celsius:

0 °C

which renders to "0 °C".

The drawback of using the LaTeX style from MathJax (and presumably with mhchem support) is that the rendered value and unit are in a different font, for example:

Text rendering MathJax rendering MathJax code
273.15 K $273.15\ \text{K}$ $273.15\ \text{K}$
0 °C $0\ ^\text{o}\text{C}$ $0\ ^\text{o}\text{C}$ or $0\ ^\circ\text{C}$
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  • $\begingroup$ mhchem also allows to write chemical fomulas and other things: $\ce{H2O}$ renders a very nice, non italicised $H_2O$ $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ Can't you put the \text before the number/quantity as well, so you get the same font? See this comment $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline Mod
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 18:14
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I do not support this request to support physical units.

(vote up this answer if you are not in favor)

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