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Re: Mathematica for Macintosh questions.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg45653] Re: Mathematica for Macintosh questions.
  • From: carlos at (Carlos Felippa)
  • Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 19:58:28 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <bu8i4g$apa$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Rachel <tic at> wrote in message news:<bu8i4g$apa$1 at>...
> Hello,
> I recently purchased a used Macintosh G4 which came with
> Mathematica. I am a college student, and one of the classes I'm
> taking this symester is Prepatory Mathematics. Next symester I'll
> be taking College Algebra.
> What I'm wondering is: is Mathematica a suitable program for
> these rather low-level courses, or is it much too advanced? I
> *really* want to absorb Algebra, but I'm simply not sure if this
> is the right tool for the stage I'm at. My professor recommended
> the website, but unfortunately it
> appears to be Windows-only.
> Also, how does the licensing work? Will I have to contact the
> person I purchased the computer from, or will I have to
> re-register? I know there is a student discount available, but I
> don't know if I'd have to buy that or not.
> Sorry for the neophyte questions, hopefully someone can help.
> Thanks!

In my school (UC-Boulder) Mathematica is used in  service Applied-Math
courses offered at the sophomore (4th semester) level.  Those 4-credit
courses (covering ODEs + linear algebra) are taken by all engineering
students (2200 of them) after 3 Calculus courses. Mathematica, along
with 2 other packages with a campus license,  can be optionally used
in *lab projects* involving analytical (as opposed to numeric) work. 
It is not used in homeworks or recitations.

How do students  learn those packages?  By taking an optional 
hands-on, 1-credit lab course taught by Math graduate students, 
offered concurrently.

Aside from those service courses Mathematica is not used in
undergraduate level engineering courses because it is deemed to
be unsuitable for programming by undergraduates (that means,
going beyond the "symbolic calculator" phase).  I use it in 3 graduate
courses, but I am the only instructor in my department who does so.

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