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A Primer on Scientific Programming with Python (Texts in Computational Science and Engineering) 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3642024740
ISBN-10: 3642024742
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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“This book is an introduction to computer programming using the Python programming language. It focuses on numerical methods as the context for examples, exercises, and assignments. … Langtangen … does an excellent job of introducing programming as a set of skills in problem solving. He guides the reader into thinking properly about producing program logic and data structures for modeling real-world problems using objects and functions and embracing the object-oriented paradigm. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; general readers.” (F. H. Wild III, Choice, Vol. 47 (8), April, 2010)

“It is an authoritative and almost monumental work that covers most aspects of the Python language and its numerical modules. It definitely has a prominent place on my bookshelf. … The text is well written … . In summary, this is the book (the only book) to have if you are an aspiring Python programmer of scientific applications.” (Jaan Kiusalaas, SIAM Review, Vol. 52 (3), September, 2010)

“The book’s title reflects its content accurately, the content is substantively scientific and the book is a very good programming book. … This excellent book is quite rich mathematically, numerical methods, differential equations, treatments of shape, and a variety of exercises and projects are included. It will also impart a deep knowledge of python, one of today’s most useful languages. I have learned a great deal from this book and recommend it highly.” (George Hacken, ACM Computing Reviews, September, 2010)

About the Author

Hans Petter Langtangen is a professor of computer science at the University of Oslo. He has formely been a professor of mechanics and is now the director of a Norwegian Center of Excellence: "Center for Biomedical Computing", at Simula Research Laboratory. Langtangen has published over 100 scientific publications and written several books, including papers and a book on Python's potential for scientific computing. He has also developed open source and commercial software systems for computational sciences.


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Product Details

  • Series: Texts in Computational Science and Engineering (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 693 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (September 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3642024742
  • ISBN-13: 978-3642024740
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Howard R. Hansen on December 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't be fooled by the title or the first chapter, this book provides
a solid introduction for using Python in scientific applications. The
main application areas covered are calculating the value of functions,
both built in and user supplied, plotting data, finding the roots of
equations, difference equations, numerical differentiation, numerical
integration and the solution to differential equations by numerical

Along the way you will learn how to use lists, tuples, dictionaries,
loops, list comprehension, lambda functions, Numpy arrays, file I/O
and Python Classes for programming scientific applications. Two
main highlights of the book are the thorough explanations the author
provides on how to use most of the features of Python and the copious
number of examples with answers. Other features are an example on how
to extract data from a Web Page and scitools. Scitools provides a
Matlab type of interface to gnuplot. About the only thing missing is
a summary on how to install Numpy, Scipy, Scitools, gunplot, and
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Beltran Gonzalez Carlos on February 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a textbook which origins come from a course in an university. On the
one hand, this makes the author to explain things absolutely obvious, clearly
oriented to students in the first years of their technical degree. On the
other hand, some of these explanations become handy if you have to teach this
material or even, sometimes, to learn the origins of something that you have
accepted as obvious without knowing exactly why is so. This is particularly
relevant in those parts dealing with mathematics (many in the book). The book
probably is of no use for an expert on SciPy/Numpy, but it is definitely useful for
people, like me, that is starting to discover the enormous capabilities of
these python language extensions. I clearly recommend this book for such
target users. The book is also excellently well written, with a clear and
concise style. Errors seem to be absent from the text and exercises are very
well targeted to the area of scientific computation.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Anderson on June 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've always done scientific computing using Fortran but got curious and did some projects with Python. I learned Python using online references. Now as I read through this Primer I realize how many essential details I missed by gathering information randomly off the internet. This book presents material clearly and in a comprehensive and logical manner.

Note that the emphasis is on teaching Python rather than numerical methods. If your main focus is to learn techniques for scientific computing then you should look for a different book.

Python is a good language for learning to use object-oriented programming (OOP) and this book will make that easy. On the other hand, the author didn't quite convince me that this approach is useful for scientific programming (but OOP is clearly quite useful elsewhere).

Overall I found the book very helpful - highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. P. Chamberlain on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this looking for an accessible introduction to numerical methods such as matrix math and numerical integration. The book's great for that. As a side benefit I realized as soon as I opened the book that I also now had a clearer tutorial for Python than any other I've seen. Like many of the other posters here, I originally tried to learn Python from looking at bits and pieces of code online and at various reference manuals, but didn't get very far. Nor have I found any of the other introductory books, even O'Reilly's canonical Learning Python, to be much help. This book filled in what I was missing. Much as with Perl, Python is a deceptively simple language, and many people are productive in it just by tweaking code they have found on the Web a bit and deploying it; but beyond this level is an extraordinarily powerful tool with a number of unique features that can only be appreciated and put to good use with a bit of hand-holding and careful walkthroughs of well-crafted code. You could almost see this book as providing that kind of clear, comprehensive understanding of the language, with numerical programming as simply a vehicle by which to accomplish that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Crider on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a physics professor at a liberal arts school, I have been trying to switch from a costly interactive data language to Python for years. Since I learned some Python in order to teach Matter & Interactions to freshmen, I have been trying to switch over to it for my research, too. Until now, I haven't been able to find a handy desk reference. This is the book I've been seeking for years! Unlike most of the other Python books (usually with animals on the cover) written for computer science folk, this one is written for people like me trying to do science. The simple examples for basic science tasks are perfect. I certainly will be recommending this to other new faculty learning Python.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book's title says it all. While this is a primer, it is not one where the reader is expected to read a hundred page project which is being used as an example. That type of book (e.g. Lippman's C++ Primer, 3rd ed.) never leaves my bookshelf. The concepts are explained with nicely sized examples. It is still serving me well as a reference.

There are many interesting exercises for every chapter. I appreciated this. I find it hard to learn a language without writing some code and this gave me something non trivial to write.

Python is now often my first choice for a task. Still love C++ though.
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