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Getting Started with Mathematica

This page was last updated on January 9, 2001

The text was published in 1998 by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (ISBN 0-471-24050-8).

It was written by C-K. Cheung, G. E. Keough, C. K. Landraitis, and R. H. Gross (all of Boston College). C-K, Jerry, and Charlie have taught Mathematica to undergraduate mathematics majors at BC several times, and all of us (Rob included!) have used Mathematica as an essential component of undergraduate electives that we teach.

Feel free to contact us regarding questions you may have about what we've written at any of these addresses:

An errata list for the second printing of this text follows

Comment. The first printing can be identified by the date "January, 2001" on page vi of the Preface.

  1. At this time, we have no listing of errors.

An errata list for the first printing of this text follows

Comment. The first printing can be identified by the date "March, 1998" on page vi of the Preface.

  1. pages 90 - 93. Information stated about SphericalPlot3D is incorrect as stated. Our description of the angles used in SphericalPlot3D is completely reversed. We are, or course, to blame for this oversight, but it was created because what mathematicians typically call "theta" is actually what physicists call "phi," and vice-versa. Mathematica is more oriented towards the physicists here.
    1. page 90. The first angle mentioned in the SphericalPlot3D command must be the vertical angle, measured from the positive z-axis. The second angle must be the horizontal, polar angle in the xy-plane, measured from the positive x-axis.
      Thus, the text can be corrected if lines 4 and 5 are rewritten to say that "theta" is the vertical angle, measured from the z-axis, and "phi" is the horizontal angle measured from the x-axis. (***This page has been redone and the angles properly clarified in the second printing, and a note has been added about the potential confusison of the two angles between mathematicians and physicists.***)
    2. page 93. Due to the error above, the last question/answer sequence on this page may appear to be confusing, but it is actually correct as it stands with this correction in the understanding of the angles "theta" and "phi." (***This answer has been slightly expanded and clarified in the second printing.***)
  2. page 174. The two graphics shown on this page contain a harmless inconsistency. The phrase "Calculus Examples" appears at the top of the first graphic, but it has morphed into the phrase "Calculus Section" in the second graphic. (***This has been fixed in the second printing.***)

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