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Re: Re: The audience for Mathematica (Was: Re: Show doesn't work inside

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  • Subject: [mg102097] Re: [mg102054] Re: The audience for Mathematica (Was: Re: Show doesn't work inside
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2009 05:11:01 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <32390795.1248259308283.JavaMail.root@n11> <h4951e$q2e$> <> <h4h235$if5$> <h4jti9$3kt$> <>

On 28 Jul 2009, at 15:03, Helen Read wrote:

> AES wrote:
>> Murray Eisenberg <murray at> wrote:
>>> Now the issue becomes one of language design:  Should the  
>>> Mathematica
>>> language -- or any computer language, for that matter -- be designed
>>> primarily with the inexperienced user in mind?
>> Fair question.  Perhaps one answer is:  It should be designed  
>> primarily
>> with the _expected audience_ in mind -- and beyond that, should be as
>> consistent and non-perplexing as possible, for that and for any  
>> audience.
>> As a more specific definition of an expected audience, it seems to me
>> (and, I think, Helen Read) that Mathematica -- or at least a more
>> consistent and less perplexing form of Mathematica:
> I'm quite happy with Mathematica in its current form. It is extremely
> consistent, and not at all perplexing to anyone who is willing to  
> put in
> a bit of effort. Look what my group of bright high school students did
> with a mere 75 minutes of exposure to Mathematica.
>> 1) Could be very accessible to bright high school students, maybe  
>> with
>> some hand holding;
> It *is* accessible to bright high school students. See above.
>> 2)  Could be (and to some extent is) useful to average college  
>> students
>> and to working BS level engineers as a helpful working tool in any
>> technical or mathematically oriented area; and
> It *is* useful to average college students. Every one of my calculus
> students learns to use Mathematica successfully, even the below  
> average
> students. The Classroom Assistant palette has made the learning curve
> even easier for them.
> My students use Mathematica on some of their quizzes, which I give  
> them
> daily during the accelerated summer session. The students are  
> permitted
> to raise their hands and ask me for help if they run into issues with
> Mathematica during the quiz. By the end of the second week of my  
> summer
> class, they were rarely asking for help with Mathematica on the  
> quizzes.
> We are now three weeks in, and today *nobody* asked for help during  
> the
> quiz. All of them were able to do what they needed to do without any
> help from me. Nobody was perplexed.
> [snip]
>> Of course, there's the alternative audience of professional  
>> Mathematica
>> experts, whose full time or near full time occupation is becoming  
>> expert
>> at using Mathematica, with all its complexities and perplexing  
>> features.
> [snip]
>> So, which audience is WRI aiming at, because it really can't have  
>> both
>> (or maybe it can, to some extent -- but it really can't serve both  
>> well).
> I disagree. Mathematica can and does serve all these different  
> audiences
> very well.
> -- 
> Helen Read
> University of Vermont

Indeed. I agree 100% (or more).

Andrzej Kozlowski

PS. I assume this is what AES meant by "doing better". Now I have done  

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