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Re: Learning maths with mathematica

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  • Subject: [mg117793] Re: Learning maths with mathematica
  • From: David <dlkeith at>
  • Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 04:04:30 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <ilcq8v$ih8$>

On Mar 11, 2:33 am, "Berthold Hamburger" <b-hambur... at>
> Hi,
> I am going to fulfil a lifelong dream and  will embark on a long distance
> physics university course in autumn after spending most of my working life
> as a professional musician in the abstract world of music. For this
> endeavour I have to brush up and recover my long lost maths basics.
> After discovering and trying out Mathematica I have purchased the home
> version of this amazing program which, after spending some time with it, I
> consider to be the swiss knife of everything.
> I would like to ask for recommendations about what would be the best way to
> use the program for the process of studying and practising maths. Are there
> any course books available that would outline a path to be followed in
> combination with using Mathematica? I am currently studying Jerry P. King's
> "Mathematics in 10 lessons" to get the basics back, but I am a little
> overwhelmed by the amount of topics that have to be covered and would
> appreciate some recommendations in terms of organizing my studies with the
> help of Mathematica.
> Regards
> Berthold Hamburger
> --
> Berthold Hamburger - Cellist/Spain
> Email: beha... at

I have a copy of Mathematica for Physics by Zimmerman, which I quite
like. I see a 2nd edition is available at

I use Mathematica extensively in applied physics. Having said that, I
believe it is a mistake to lean too heavily on Mathematica while
learning physics. It can get you to an answer -- a number or a formula
-- but disguise the meaning and structure of the answer. And in
symbolic manipulation it has no way to recognize and work toward
structure in representation which illuminates the underying principals
of a given formulation.

Physics is an approximate science. Many useful results are obtained by
working a representation into a form in which annoying terms may be
disregarded. For many -- perhaps most -- important problems, this is
the only means of obtaining a closed form solution. Mathematica cannot
do that yet. (But now that Watson has won on Jeopardy, maybe it will
soon.  ;-}  )

Kind regards,


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