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Re: Request for Collective Wisdom...

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  • Subject: [mg88510] Re: Request for Collective Wisdom...
  • From: "David Park" <djmpark at>
  • Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 07:06:44 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <fvpcoc$met$>

A few additional items:

1) Use localization of parameters and variables.

2) Be prepared to write definitions and specifications as needed to make the 
development easy and clear.

3) Write many Text cells to explain what the objects are and what you are 
doing. (Otherwise the poor professor will be clueless.) Also use Sectional 
grouping when appropriate.

David Park
djmpark at

"W_Craig Carter" <wcraigcarter at> wrote in message 
news:fvpcoc$met$1 at
> (*Below is a request for suggestions for "hints for beginners. The
> preface is a bit long-winded" *)
> I am working on an applied math for physical scientists undergraduate
> text---I am using Mathematica as the engine to learn and solve
> problems quickly.
> I have an appendix that I have been creating (empirically) for  a
> couple years: "Common Mathematica Beginners' Errors." This wasn't
> difficult.
> I am now considering how to write another Appendix: "Mathematica Usage
> Paradigms for Beginners."  This one is not as straightforward because
> it will be a list of short sequences of Mathematica code. The size of
> the list should be a compromise between length, completeness, and
> "orthogonality."
> Some topics are obvious to (subjective) me: work symbolically and with
> exact representations; scale to remove units when possible; visualize
> often and when in doubt evaluate as a number; pure functions are
> power; avoid the outdoors unless you have applied the documentation,
> lists are your friends...
> Nota bene, this is a book for undergraduates who have just received
> the "physics, chemistry, and multivariable calculus" catechism, and
> (typically) don't appreciate that there are common themes in their
> education (think back...).
> (* Punchline: *)
> I would sincerely appreciate thoughtful (bullet-type) suggestions for
> paradigms.  (off-line or on- as you please).
> PS: Implicit in this is what a dear friend called "The Homotopy
> Conjecture."  Give me a small working example, and it can deformed
> into a complicated one for my own purposes.
> PPS: I expect a small fraction of snarky answers---I won't respond.
> -- 
> W. Craig Carter

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