M/s submitted to Chemistry in Britain.

Please address all correspondence to:

Dr Mark J Winter
Department of Chemistry
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S3 7HF, UK.


Modification Date: Wednesday, March 29, 1995

Chemistry and the WWW

Henry S Rzepa, Benjamin J Whitaker, and Mark J Winter

Department of Chemistry, Imperial college, London, SW7 2AY, UK
School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Department of Chemistry, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HF, UK

Box 1: Mathematical Markup and Non-standard Characters

Close to the hearts of chemists is the ability to use a range of less common characters, including Greek symbols, tables, and the extension to mathematical markup. Early versions of the language used in preparing Web documents offered little in the way of such markup. However, a proposed extension to the language, called HTML version 3, shows much promise in this area. The first plate shows a table formatted to show a selection of symbols of interest to chemists, and the particular syntax used to achieve this effect;

The second plate shows how simple lines of symbolic mathematics marked up in HTML 3.0 can be used to produce complex equations.

Because the math markup is semantically precise, the content can easily be translated into other formats, suitable for example for processing using a Mathematica notebook. Another far reaching implication is that documents prepared in HTML format need not be locked into this format, but could easily be translated into other languages as they are developed. By this means, documents prepared in the infancy of the World-Wide Web phenomenon should still be readable in ten or twenty years time by whatever successor systems might have developed by then.