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A quick start with
Mathematica
Steven Tschantz
1/8/09
Notebooks and cells
Mathematica
files are called notebooks.
Notebooks record the calculations you do, like an experimental scientist's lab notebook. The result can be edited, organized,
and reevaluated as a kind of proof of a calculation. Notebooks can also be annotated with additional text and formatted as
reports.
The
Mathematica
frontend is the WYSIWYG editor that you use to prepare notebooks. It communicates with the
Mathemat
ica
kernel, the program that does computation.
A notebook is a vertical sequence of cells and groups of cells, as delimited by brackets at right.
Cells are of various types with distinct formatting and functions. Headings, sections, and text cells allow you to produce a
polished report. Input you want evaluated is typed in an input cell. You evaluate the input by pressing shiftreturn, sending
the command to the kernel, with any resulting output placed in a following output cell.
The editing insertion point is indicated by a small vertical bar when typing within a cell, or by a horizontal bar across the
window when inserting into the vertical sequence of cells. You may also select the cell brackets to operate on cells or groups
of cells, for example to cut or copy whole cells.
Double clicking on a grouping bracket opens or closes a group of cells, allowing a condensed outline view of a document.
If you are at the bottom of the notebook or between cells and start typing, you will start a new input cell. Evaluating the input
by pressing shiftreturn produces an output cell and leaves you after the output ready to start a new input cell. This is the
simplest way to start using
Mathematica
.
You can edit and reevaluate an input cell in a notebook by clicking anywhere within the cell, placing the insertion point in the
cell for editing, and then pressing shiftreturn. Alternatively, you can select the cell brackets of one or more cells or groups of
cells and press shiftreturn to reevaluate all of the included input.
Basic computation
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 Spring '11
 Schantz
 Math

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