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MathGroup Archive 2008

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Re: Range of Use of Mathematica


Murray Eisenberg wrote:
> And this is one more place where well-conceived and well-executed 
> introductory BOOKS about Mathematica 6, or applying Mathematatica 6 to 
> specific subject areas, can help.
> 
> So far, and so far as I am aware, we have only one instance of this: 
> (1) Lynch's "Dynamical Systems with Applications using Mathematica", and 
> (2) the additional Mathematica 6 notebooks to accompany Shaw's "Complex 
> Analysis with Mathematica".
> 
> Now if some of the old pre-version 6 books were updated or, preferably 
> perhaps, new ones written, e.g., on:  calculus; differential equations; 
> linear algebra; discrete math including combinatorics & graph theory. 
> Even a new Glynn & Gray, "Beginner's Guide..."!
> 
> My impression is that in (much) earlier Mathematica versions, WRI went 
> out of its way to encourage and foster such 3rd party books (some of 
> which were, in fact, written by or co-authored by insiders).  Either 
> this is not being done or, if it is, there's a considerable lag in such 
> efforts seeing the light of day.
> 
> I remain convinced that some of the early success of Mathematica was the 
> existence of such books, beyond the intrinsic value of the software 
> itself.  And I continue to hope that the seemingly print-averse, 
> pro-electronic enthusiasts within WRI do not totally dominate the 
> direction this takes.
> 

I think a lot of us agree that there is a need for a physical book, but 
we realise that if the book followed the old comprehensive style it 
would become a huge multi-volume set!

I suggest that a new book could follow the old Mathematica book style, 
but would make no attempt to be comprehensive. For example, where a 
section should logically refer to additional functions, these could be 
simply listed under "See also".

A particularly specialised area - such as J/Link - could be summarised 
with the emphasis on the sort of problem it might address, and be 
followed by a few hyperlinks (which don't work from books, but you know 
what I mean).

The aim would be to supply the in-depth overview of Mathematica, but use 
the fact that every reader would have the help system available as well.
In particular, every logical omission would be covered by a "See also" link.

David Bailey
http://www.dbaileyconsultancy.co.uk


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