Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

The Mathematica Story: A Scrapbook

Three Decades of Contributions to Invention, Discovery and Education

Robert Meyer, Mathematica user since 1988

My first use of Mathematica was in the last months of 1988 when I was asked by my aerospace industry management to evaluate various mathematics software programs that could be used to help the company engineers increase their development productivity. After my evaluations were complete my view was that Mathematica (then in its very first release) was in a class of its own. It had no close competitors in terms of the huge breadth of capability the core unadorned Mathematica software package provided. This evaluation caused my company to purchase Mathematica licenses for engineering use and I was soon using it for engineering/scientific development in that context.

A few years later, once I purchased a suitable computer of my own, Mathematica was one of the first personal software investments I made. Since then I have used Mathematica on a continual basis, both for personal projects and for professional development purposes. Now, 25 years later, I am recently retired and I still continue to use my personal Mathematica software heavily in pursuit of my own development projects.

I believe that Mathematica offers its users a unique breadth of mathematical and graphic capabilities that, amazingly, still continue to significantly expand with its latest releases, even many years after the first version came out. I once heard Mathematica described as “a Swiss Army knife” for tackling a large variety of mathematical, modeling, and simulation applications and find that very apt. Over the years my own multiple uses have included applications in optics analysis, data mining, Bayesian networks, artificial intelligence, image pattern recognition, land vehicle motion simulations, orbital mechanics, thermodynamics, micrometeorology, radar simulation, and communication network simulations, as well as assorted graphics and animation generation for inclusion in Word and PowerPoint documents.

In summary, Mathematica has been a core part of a very large fraction of my career, from young engineer to a recently retired one, even as my development needs have evolved substantially over time. And it continues to serve me very well.