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

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  • Subject: [mg102169] Re: [mg102149] Re: The audience for Mathematica (Was: Show doesn't
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 05:56:04 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <h4m4ca$ecg$> <h4p3g1$itm$> <>
  • Reply-to: murray at

This situation is hardly new nor Mathematica-specific.  All one needs is 
a modern hand-held scientific calculator to do any symbolic integral 
that's likely to arise in a calculus course.  And for some of the 
weirder integrals there, the form of the answer provided by the 
calculator may be more like the "by-hand" answer than what Mathematica 
provides (although at the moment I don't have such an example at hand).

Reverse engineering the steps from the answer is an entirely different 

Of course the pecunious student can go to, buy a $25 
password, and get up to 900 worked solutions, over a year's time, that 
include the step-by-step work!  (Thanks to the webMathematica back end.)

Or, if the homework comes from a popular textbook, the student could go 
to to get many free step-by-step solutions to textbook 
problems, and even more such solutions if he pays a membership fee.

Is this really any worse than the prior situation, where the students 
might sit in the hallway before class copying homework solutions from 
each other?

David Bailey wrote:
> My only query is, how do you set homework problems where you want the 
> student to solve the problem by hand - say an integral that requires a 
> substitution. Some students will inevitably get the answer with 
> Mathematica, and then fill in the intermediate steps!

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
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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