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Mathematica in Action [Paperback]

by Stan Wagon
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Mathematica® in Action: Problem Solving Through Visualization and Computation Mathematica® in Action: Problem Solving Through Visualization and Computation 3.8 out of 5 stars (8)
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Book Description

March 1991 071672202X 978-0716722021
Mathematica is revolutionizing mathematics. What the electronic calculator did for arithmetic in the '70s, a powerful new computer language, Mathematica, is doing for all mathematical calculations today. In this task-specific guide to Mathematica for mathematically sophisticated applications, Stan Wagon's goal is to develop the user's mathematical imagination and to unveil the full capacity of the program to achieve impressive results-from standard numerical computations to complex programs at the frontiers of mathematics.

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews of the third edition:

The book is full of interesting things. The first half focuses on visualization and the math is relatively elementary (nothing beyond multivariable calculus). The second half works on much harder problems. —MAA Reviews

“Beginners will benefit from the book as will more experienced Mathematica programmers as the explorations build from simple introductory concepts … . The best feature of the book is that it teaches via interesting examples. … The writing is remarkably good. … The book contains a good number of color illustrations and is rich in Mathematica output. … interesting explorations with clear and engaging writing are hard to come by. I’m delighted to have this book in my collection.” (Playing with Mathematica, June, 2011)

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"Mathematica in Action, 2nd Edition," is designed both as a guide to the extraordinary capabilities of Mathematica as well as a detailed tour of modern mathematics by one of its leading expositors, Stan Wagon. Ideal for teachers, researchers, mathematica enthusiasts, "Mathematica in Action" leads the reader on a gued tour of elementary calculus, high-precision number theory, fractals, turtle geometry, and numerical analysis. Includes diskette with "Mathematica" programs for DOS/Windows, Macintosh and Unix computer platforms. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 419 pages
  • Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (Sd) (March 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071672202X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716722021
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,577,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Insights into Mathematica July 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stan Wagon's long awaited 3'rd edition of Mathematica in Action fulfilled all my hopes. Every page is filled with deep insight into both topic covered and the related Mathematica implementation. Here is just a small sample of some of the things you will read about and learn:

1) How to effectively plot unstable functions.
2) How to speed up animations
3) Techniques for getting the most out of Mathematica's 3D plotting functions
4) Practical advice and examples using Mathematica's dynamic interactivity features (Manipulate, Dynamic, etc.)
5) Beautiful ways to visualize the behavior of Differential Equations.
6) An entire chapter dedicated to optimization and another to computational geometry (I have only skimmed these at this time)

Naturally the book revisits a lot material from the 2nd edition but there is enough new material to reward owners of older editions, especially with respect to the latest features of Mathematica 7.

The book has a slight leaning towards pure mathematics (whole chapters on such topics as Prime Numbers, Penrose Tiles, Fractals, Pi, Banach-Tarski Paradox and Riemann Zeta Function). Readers whose needs are more firmly rooted in the practical (statistics, finance, image processing, audio processing, parallel processing) might look at some of the other recent Mathematica publications (yes, that is shameful plug!) to fill out their Mathematica knowledge. However, even within the theoretical coverage there is priceless gems of Mathematica know-how that only an author like Stan (who has spent a significant portion of his life using and teaching Mathematica) could provide.

Two added bonuses:

- Many full color images and plots
- The notebooks containing the code (but not text) for every chapter.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Teaches Mathematics as well as Mathematica. September 6, 2002
Prof.Wagon shares his experience about the difficulties he encountered in ensuring the correctness of the algorithms.
The lessons he offers on the importance of careful thinking and meticulously checking the results of calculations is alone worth the price of the book.
The algorithms in the book require Mathematica 3. They seem to work well with Mathematica 4 as well.
The selection of topics is excellent. This book can provide a great start to a lot fun and learning with Mathematica.
I hope Prof.Wagon brings out a new expanded edition for the current edition of Mathematica soon.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version is inaccurate December 26, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very good book, but only in paper form. The 3e kindle edition has significant errors that do not appear in my 2e paper copy. Judging by the specific differences, this appears to be an artifact of the kindle conversion process.

While such errors are annoying in general writing, they render this particular book unusable. Terse Mathematica techniques do not work if just a single character is incorrect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for Mathematica lovers April 3, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is interesting, entertaining and also a ready reference. Gets you thinking of the explorations you can undertake for both professional and recreational purposes.

The book is also typeset very well with glossy pages which add to its attractiveness. I keep it on my coffee table and flip through it while sipping coffee !
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