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Mathematica® in Action: Problem Solving Through Visualization and Computation 3rd ed. 2010 Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387753669
ISBN-10: 0387753664
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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)

From the Back Cover

In this third edition of Mathematica® in Action, award-winning author Stan Wagon guides beginner and veteran users alike through Mathematica's powerful tools for mathematical exploration. The transition to Mathematica 7 is made smooth with plenty of examples and case studies that utilize Mathematica's newest tools, such as dynamic manipulations and adaptive three-dimensional plotting. Mathematica in Action also emphasizes the breadth of Mathematica and the impressive results of combining techniques from different areas. This material enables the reader to use Mathematica to solve a variety of complex problems.

Case studies ranging from elementary to sophisticated are provided throughout. Whenever possible, the book shows how Mathematica can be used to discover new things. Striking examples include the design of a road on which a square wheel bike can ride, the design of a drill that can drill square holes, an illustration of the Banach—Tarski Paradox via hyperbolic geometry, new and surprising formulas for p, the discovery of shadow orbits for chaotic systems, and the use of powerful new capabilities for three-dimensional graphics. Visualization is emphasized throughout, with finely crafted graphics in each chapter.

Wagon is the author of eleven books on mathematics, including A Course in Computational Number Theory, named one of the ten best math books of 2000 by the American Library Association. He has written extensively on the educational applications of Mathematica, including the books VisualDSolve: Visualizing Differential Equations with Mathematica, and Animating Calculus: Mathematica Notebooks for the Laboratory.

From reviews of the second edition:

"In a dazzling range of examples Stan Wagon shows how such features as animation, 3-dimensional graphics and high-precision integer arithmetic can contribute to our understanding and enjoyment of mathematics."
—Richard Walker, The Mathematical Gazette

"The bottom line is that Mathematica in Action is an outstanding book containing many examples of real uses of Mathematica for the novice, intermediate, and expert user."
—Mark McClure, Mathematica in Education and Research
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 580 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 3rd ed. 2010 edition (June 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387753664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387753669
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a science enthusiast and a person who likes to dabble in electronics and design, math is a key signature to getting the priniciples and understanding of electronics. This is a "beginners" book to start off with simple examples, but does not leave out the advanced mathematician in theory either. As a progressive in learning the basics, more and more advanced topics are introduced that show how mapping, plotting, and calculations for multiple linear and non-linear systems can be tested and executed with ease.
You will need the full version of Mathematica to take advantage of the more advanced principles, but that is optional.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do not order the kindle edition - complete waste of money as the formatting and text is unusable. I wish I could get my money back.
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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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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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