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Mathematica Bridges Civil Engineering Laws with Plastic Surgery Decisions

"The computer usage seems effortless because Mathematica lets me build up large, complex programs by introducing simple lines of code, one at a time. It gives me a feeling that I am carrying out mathematical steps in a natural mode rather than programming a computer in an artificial language."
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Would you want a civil engineer to do your plastic surgery? Probably not, but plastic surgery and building underground tunnels may have more in common than you think—especially according to Guatam Dasgupta, a civil engineering professor at Columbia University. Dasgupta uses Mathematica to apply commonly used civil engineering laws and equations to plastic surgery.

Working with Mathematica, Dasgupta examines the face as a complicated geometric shape, much like a bridge or a tunnel. "Each part of the face is connected to the other, so any local change will affect the overall look of a person's face," said Dasgupta. "Using Mathematica to look at the relationship of the facial parts helps plastic surgeons decide what and how much of the face should be operated on to attain the desired look."

"Mathematica's programming language allows me to use a single computer program to create convex polygons of all sizes with all number of sides," Dasgupta said. "It was intellectually rewarding because Mathematica was not constrained by Fortran inabilities that prevent generalized modeling."

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