Sorry folks. In my previous post, lots of quantities in square brackets disappeared, completely garbling the Mathematica code. I don't know how to prevent this or even to preview what the post is going to look like. The short form of the question, replacing all the square brackets with parentheses is:

If I write an expression like Sqrt(2 a), Mathematica apparently automatically transforms it into Sqrt(2)Sqrt(a). Is there a way to prevent this?

And now I have another question. How do I put square brackets in a posting without risking them getting dropped? As an experiment, I'm going to try using the "Insert Special Character" tool. Test: Sqrt

Bill