Re: Re: Re: Re: Show and 6.0
Actually, I do not disagree with this, except perhaps for certain
aspects that are essentially matters of taste and habit.
Personally, I do not find encyclopedic style books suitable for
studying mathematics, and learning mathematica (for me) is similar to
learning mathematics. The problem is not whether one can read such a
book with interest (this is essentially a matter of style and
Wolfram's style, while rather short on wit, makes for pretty smooth
reading) but how much one retains and how deep is the understanding
one acquires. In my own case, the Mathematica book like all
encyclopedic texts fails in this respect. I actually read the first
edition quite carefully but found that I was quite unable to write
anything but the simplest programs until after I read Roman Maeder's
Programming in Mathematica. But only after I read Wagner's "Power
Programing with Mathematica" I began to feel I had understood the
essence of the language. After that I taught Mathematica programming
to math students for several years using the book of Wellin and
Kamin, and I told the students to use The Mathematica book mainly as a
reference. I still think that was the right approach, although, of
course this may not be equally true for everyone.
In any case, there is certainly no shortage of Mathematica books that
teach the fundamentals of the language.
On 12 Jun 2008, at 15:56, Murray Eisenberg wrote:
> I, for one, regard Wolfram's "The Mathematica Book" as excellent, both
> as a reference and as a tutorial. I have always found it quite
> readable, and indeed I am quite sure I have read through at least
> everything in at least nearly all chapters. And the pages of some of
> those chapters are very well worn.
> The "Virtual Book" added to Mathematica 6.0.1 (or was it 6.0.2?) is a
> reasonable substitute for that, although I still miss the
> convenience of
> a bound book, and I still prefer the two-column code / comment
> layout of
> all the examples in "The Mathematica Book".
> One thing really missing in "the book" was the process of building up
> larger applications such as might arise in practice. But other
> books do
> Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
>> ... As for Wolfram's huge book, while excellent as a
>> on-line reference, I consider it totally unreadable (and I have good
>> reasons to believe that the people who most lament its absence in
>> Mathematica 6 have never actually read the earlier versions).
> Murray Eisenberg murray at math.umass.edu
> Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
> Lederle Graduate Research Tower phone 413 549-1020 (H)
> University of Massachusetts 413 545-2859 (W)
> 710 North Pleasant Street fax 413 545-1801
> Amherst, MA 01003-9305
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