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review of 3.0 in Window Sources

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg5566] review of 3.0 in Window Sources
  • From: gaylord at (richard j. gaylord)
  • Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 01:02:53 -0500
  • Organization: university of illinois
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


just in case, anyone has read the review that appeared in the 1/97 issue
of Window Sources magazine, here's a letter to the editor i just sent.
maybe they'll even print it.

btw - except for the programming language mistake, it's a pretty good review.


>From: "richard j. gaylord" <gaylord at>
>Subject: [mg5566] review of Mathematica 3.0 in Window Sources 1/97


In your otherwise excellent review of Mathematica 3.0, there are two
mis-statements that need to be corrected. It is not true that the
Mathematica programming language is hard to learn, or that familarity with
C++ or Fortran (or any other procedural language) is necessary, or even
helpful, in learning the language. I have taught hundreds of students as
well as professionals, some having prior experience with other programming
languages and some with no programming experience at all, how to program
with Mathematica, and their nearly unanimous response has been that it is
an extremely simple language to learn, master, and then to use. The key is
to approach it as a functional language and not as a procedural language.
There are several textbooks available that are quite well-suited for
learning how to program in Mathematica  (see for a
listing of Mathematica textbooks).  As the saying goes "try it; you'll
like it".

Professor Richard J. Gaylord
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1304 W. Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801


richard j. gaylord, university of illinois, gaylord at

"any fool can make a rule" - Henry David Thoreau 
"the game is afoot" -  Sherlock Holmes

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