"I should perhaps say, for the benefit of any reader so fired up by my exposition as to be on the point of running out and buying a math software package, that very strong opinions are held about the relative merits of the different packages, along the lines of the evergreen PC/Macintosh debate, with Stephen Wolfram, who created Mathematica, playing the part of Bill Gates. As a mere journalist, I consider myself hors de combat in this war. I am certainly not propagandizing on behalf of Mathematica. It was the first math software package that came to my attention, and it is the only one I have ever used."
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Home Edition of Mathematica Available
I've written before about my fascination with Mathematica but it has always been way too expensive to have a copy. In its very early days, it was included free with every NeXT computer sold, and it was only a few hundred bucks to buy it otherwise. Consequently, there are quite a few references in Wolfram materials about how "hobbyists" were among the million or so users. Alas, it has been priced at about $3000 for as long as I can remember, which puts it well out of the range of hobbyists. Now, however, Wolfram is selling a full version of Mathematica 7.0.1 as a download from their web site for a price that is considerably better. Due to a licensing agreement at my work, it is possible for employees to get a "home copy" of Mathematica for free but my experience with this has been somewhat problematic: the license was always expiring and it would be weeks before it would be reinstated and the available version was always one (or two!) generations behind the current version. So I went ahead and bought a copy at the reduced price , thereby joining the storied ranks of the hobbyists, or "amateurs" (to be understood, also, in the sense in which Peter Kreeft uses this word in one of his books: "lover"). A contributor to one of the political blogs I regularly read is named John Derbyshire, who has written a couple of books about math. I like his books, but look askance at his politics sometimes. Nevertheless, I like what he said in his 2003 book, Prime Obsession,
Posted by raluke at 8:11 AM