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Simulating Nature with Mathematica

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  • Subject: Simulating Nature with Mathematica
  • From: smh at (Stephen Hunt)
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jul 94 1:15:00 EST

'Simulating Nature with Mathematica'

Richard J. Gaylord and Kazume Nishidate

The world around us is a constant source of wonderment. Some people are content 
to simply 'observe' nature, but for many of us, there is a strong desire to 
understand the 'how and why' behind the natural phenomena we see everywhere.

In the past, there have been difficult barriers to overcome if we wanted to 
explore nature: purchasing or constructing equipment in order to carry out an 
experiment, or achieving a certain level of mathematical sophistication in order
to develop a theory. Now, however, the availability of user-friendly computer 
hardware and software, provides a gateway for the exploration of nature by both 
the amateur and professional, alike.

Mathematica World is pleased to introduce a new, recurring column
"Simulating Nature with Mathematica" by Richard J. Gaylord and Kazume Nishidate.
The aim of the column is two-fold: to show you computer simulation models of 
diverse natural phenomena, and to enable you to carry out your own computer 
explorations of nature.

One emphasis in the column will be on 'scientific visualization'. That is, the 
creation of graphical output with Mathematica which can be used to help us to 
understand natural phenomena.

Another emphasis will be on the development of simulation programs in 
Mathematica. The programs will be presented in their entirety so that you can 
simply use them to generate your own output.

Additionally, the details of how the programs are constructed will be presented 
in a step-by-step fashion. If you work through these details, you will be able 
to modify and extend the programs for your own explorations. Studying the 
programs will also help you to learn how to write good (efficient, elegant) 
Mathematica code.

The topics that will be covered in this column will be very diverse, drawn from 
biology, physics, chemistry, and the social sciences. For  example, biological 
evolution, traffic jams, gelation, and heart rhythms will be discussed in the 
near future.

We think that you will find these 'simulations' to be quite stimulating.

Steve Hunt

For further information email smh at

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