Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

The Mathematica Story: A Scrapbook

Three Decades of Contributions to Invention, Discovery and Education

Amaro J. Rica da Silva, Physics Department, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon University

I was working on my PhD at the University of Gainesville, Florida, in 1986 when I first started working with a Symbolic Manipulation Program called SMP (Wolfram’s own) on a VT terminal at the Physics Department. It was truly useful but soon afterwards I bought my first Mac II, and started working from home wishing that I could do some of that on it. Fortunately, I read in a Mac journal the announcement of the first version of Mathematica for the Mac, and I requested immediately a grant from the Luso American Foundation under the Fulbright program for its acquisition, and I’ve been using it ever since on Mac, NeXT, and Linux workstations. When I returned to Portugal in 1989 I started an introductory course on computational methods in physics, which included Mathematica-based notebook assignments at the IST-Lisbon, and lectured with it in a course on group theory for physics. Currently I also do research in solar physics and use Mathematica wavelet functionality and ease of programming to quickly develop strategies for intensive image analysis with palatalization and even GPU computation.