Pens are certainly more portable than computers

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7216.1073a (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1073
  1. Len Finegold, physicist (L{at}Drexel.edu)
  1. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

    EDITOR—My normal handwriting is so bad that a physician friend has deservedly commented, “Your only attribute for being a physician is your handwriting.”1 Yet this friend's writing is admirably clear.

    A while back, on reading a note that I had written to myself, I found that not only could I not decipher it but I had no idea what it was about, even from the context. So it was a matter of either learning touch typing or improving my handwriting; certainly handwriting seemed more versatile. I did some reading and found that the humanist script (used by monks for fast writing) was legible; the modern descendant is italic script.

    I took an evening class in calligraphy and soon found myself rapped over the knuckles by the teacher, for “calligraphy is an art form and not to be used for everyday writing.” Anyway, I use italic for all correspondence except electronic mail, take a photocopy, and have found that people seem to prefer the personal touch. A pen weighs much less than a laptop and printer for trips.

    Apparently there has been a resurgence of ink pens among undergraduates in the United States. I have surveyed people at recent physics conferences: it's obvious that the great majority in this computer-happy trade use pens and paper and pocket paper diaries. Perhaps correspondents could tell me of good italic ink pens now that my favourite is being discontinued.


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