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The MATHEMATICA ® Book, Version 4 4th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521643146
ISBN-10: 0521643147
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Editorial Reviews


"...an amazing range of truly useful new features...the finest environment for technical computing and publication ever developed. It's simply the most impressive program I've seen in ten years of reviewing technical software." Macworld online

"...the most powerful computer algebra/graphics package...indispensable...This book makes learning the package a pleasure." IEE Review

"...a well-structured reference work...the examples are rich, relevant, and well laid out...This work continues to be a very handy, if heavy, guide to Mathematica both for the regular user and for the beginner. Any Mathematica-using organization needs this book on its shelves." Computing Reviews

Book Description

With over a million users around the world, the Mathematica software system created by Stephen Wolfram has defined the direction of technical computing for the past decade. The enhanced text and hypertext processing and state-of-the-art numerical computation features will ensure that Mathematica 4, takes scientific computing into the next century.The Mathematica Book continues to be the definitive reference guide to this revolutionary software package and is released in this new edition to coincide with the release of the new version of Mathematica.The Mathematica Book is a must-have purchase for anyone who wants to understand the opportunities in science, technology, business, and education made possible by Mathematica 4. This encompasses a broad audience of scientists and mathematicians; engineers; computer professionals; financial analysts; medical researchers; and students at high-school, college, and graduate levels.Written by the creator of the system, The Mathematica Book includes both a tutorial introduction and complete reference information, and contains comprehensive description of how to take advantage of Mathematica's ability to solve myriad technical computing problems and its powerful graphical and typesetting capabilities.New to this version:* Major efficiency enhancements in handling large volumes of numerical data.* Internal packed array technology to make repetitive operations on large numerical datasets radically more efficient in speed and memory.*Improved algebraic computation facilities, including support for assumptions within Simplify, and related functions, and specification of domains for variables, as well as full support of symbolic Laplace, Fourier, and Z transforms.* Additional Mathematica functions, including Dirac Delta, Stuve, Harmonic numbers, etc.* Enhanced graphics and sound capabilities, including faster graphic generation and additional format support for graphics and sound.* Full-function spell checking including special technical dictionaries.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1496 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 4 edition (February 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521643147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521643146
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 2.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's a shame that the spotlight review for this book is a tirade by a frustrated student who envies Stephen Wolfram's ability to make money. So much for Amazon's ability to separate the wheat from the chaff!
Here's my opinion: I've been a Mathematica user since 1989 and have found the various versions of the book to be essential references. Mathematica has become an indispensable tool in my work as a teacher, researcher, and consultant, and I've even written a book about Mathematica applications in my field. If I were limited to only one piece of software, this would be it (ok, an operating system would be good, too). Maybe it's because I learned to progam by writing mainframe FORTRAN programs on keypunch cards but, whatever the reason, I disagree with just about all of the comments in the negative review. I am continually amazed at the things I can do using Mathematica and, in general, how quickly and easily I can do them.
Sure, a person needs some mathematical saavy to get the most out of Mathematica. Maybe that was the negative reviewer's problem. The reason that the particular inequality of interest to him or her isn't specifically addressed may be that almost anyone with rudimentary knowledge of Mathematica, some insight into problem solving, and a curious spirit can easily think of at least three or four ways to accomplish the task at hand. I looked at his or her inequality, thought about it for a minute or two while I had a sip of coffee, and then made a contour plot in a few seconds. No need at all for Calculus Whiz, although people just learning calculus may indeed find it helpful.
It is, though, important to distinguish between the quality of the book and the need to buy a copy.
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Format: Hardcover
As other reviewers have mentioned, the most important thing to know about this book is that it is included in electronic form with Mathematica. Some people think that's a bad thing, and if you do, too, then this book certianly isn't for you.

If you're like me, you sometimes prefer to have a printed copy of documentation at your disposal. The index is useful, and the book is beautifully bound and typeset. If you like hardcopy references, you won't be disappointed in this title.

The book starts out as a tutorial; it's possible to use the first 100 or so pages as an end-to-end introduction to most of Mathematica's features. The tutorial is easy to follow, though some of the steps might not be completely clear or as detailed as they should be. For example, some formula entry features aren't described until after they're used for the first time. Some functions are invoked before their description is shown, too.

Perhaps worst of all, some features of the product are left unexplored while other features (which seem quite orthogonal to the discussion at hand) are mentioned more than in passing.

A great example of the scope and flow problems is at the start of the chapter about Mathematica on different computers. I'd expect this section t odiscuss the difference beteen the Kernel text interface and the noteboook interface, but it doesn't; it sticks to the notebook interface, and doesn't explain how I might use the kernel interface directly. It mentions the Mathematica programming API, and even includes a code fragment demonstrating it -- but then offers no other description of the API. The text doesn't even mention where I can go to read more details, if I'm interested, later on!

As a reference, the book is very useful.
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Format: Paperback
I bought the 2nd edition of this book back in the early 90s when a student edition of the software was available to me inexpensively for the Mac. The book was very helpful in learning how to use the Mathematica program. There are examples galore and many graphical illustrations. As other reviewers have said, the whole book comes online with the software and you can easily search it, but I liked having an offline copy too. The later versions are just extensions of earlier ones.
It is easy to learn how to do simple examples from the book. Suppose you want to plot the expression |x-y| + |x| + |y|. On page ix, before the book really begins, there is an example of the syntax to make a plot: Plot3D[ Sin[x y], {x,0,Pi}, {y,0,Pi} ]. In chapter 1 (p. 49) you learn that the absolute value is given by the Abs[x] function.
So, you can type Plot3D[ Abs[x-y] + Abs[x] + Abs[y], {x,-2,2}, {y,-2,2}] to get a nice 3D plot of this expression, with x and y in the range -2 to 2. If you want to see a plot where the value of the expression is <= 2, you can restrict the Z range of the plot, as illustrated in chapter 1 (p. 157), like this:
Plot3D[ Abs[x-y] + Abs[x] + Abs[y], {x,-2,2}, {y,-2,2}, PlotRange->{0,2} ].
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Format: Hardcover
There's a lot of power in Mathematica, as a symbolic algebra system, as super-powered calculator, for basic graphics, and even for limited kinds of text preparation. This puts essentially all of that power in your hands.
You had better have strong hands. This is as thick as most two books on my shelf. That's what it takes, though, to describe something as featureful as Mathematica. Just about any function you ever heard of, it has. It also has the derivative and integral, in symbolic form, and maybe even a moment generating function, if that applies. It's all there and it's indexed fairly well.
That won't help the beginner struggling with the basic syntax or programming model. The pattern matching is not at all intuitive, if you've been programming in procedural or OO languages - a Prolog background would serve you better. Combinations of code, formatted text, and graphics are also possible, but no always easy to work out from this text. This is not a primer, it's an encyclopedia.
That's what I want, though: the language, the library, and an organization that doesn't hide them. It's not a user-friendly introduction, but I'm not a very friendly user.
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