Re: Book

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg127103] Re: Book*From*: "djmpark" <djmpark at comcast.net>*Date*: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 05:18:39 -0400 (EDT)*Delivered-to*: l-mathgroup@mail-archive0.wolfram.com*References*: <3080724.30560.1340960821356.JavaMail.root@m06>

I hope you will pardon me if I veer somewhat from your question. The Mathematica documentation files and tutorials themselves are the least expensive and most up to date way to learn Mathematica. The trick is not to just read or evaluate them but to type the commands into your own notebook and use variations to experiment with them. There are a number of Mathematica books out there, which I will let others recommend. Some get out of date, and most of them spend much their effort repeating the same basics. Their main advantage is that they might introduce you to Mathematica commands you might not ordinarily think of. A better way is to get ordinary non-Mathematica books, or even tutorial pages from the web, and try to implement them in Mathematica notebooks, flying solo, so to speak. Start with really EASY material that you basically understand where the only problem is to translate it into Mathematica format. The cruel fact is that it takes a long time to get really good at Mathematica and nobody masters it all. People headed for technical careers should start learning it in secondary school. It's a real problem if one has to learn Mathematica and difficult technical material at the same time and under time pressure. I regard Mathematica as a revolutionary new medium for doing and communicating mathematics. If it took us most of secondary school (at least) to learn how to write and express ourselves well in our native language, how much more effort is involved in adding mathematics and the various dynamic presentations into the mix? The good news is that it is such a new area that you can be one of the pioneers. One way to learn physics, say, is to pick a topic (preferably simple) and write a tutorial on it using the Mathematica medium. Write it as if you were explaining the topic to someone else. Text cells are as important as Input/Output cells. Polish it. You can actually add value to the material because most topics have not been well treated using the active and dynamic features of Mathematica. You can explain many things much more clearly and elegantly with Mathematica than can be done on the printed page. Don't hesitate to write your own routines when necessary. Mathematica does not have buttons for everything. Often routines are helpful for convenient application to specialized areas. Write usage statements, error messages, and SyntaxInformation statements for generally useful routines. Eventually you will have a suite of great routines that you could wrap into a package. Try to calculate everything. Do derivations actively without using "word processing" to get over steps. It usually can be done, increases your abilities with Mathematica and the subject matter, helps to proof your work, and is very impressive to anyone reading the notebook. All these things are just as important as adding another book to the bookshelf. David Park djmpark at comcast.net http://home.comcast.net/~djmpark/index.html From: Mat' G. [mailto:ellocomateo at free.fr] Hi all, which book do you advice to learn and use Mathematica 8 in the field of physics and engineering? Thanks for advising! Mat