Jack Calman, Principal Staff Physicist, JHU Applied Physics Lab, Maryland
Mathematica came into my life in 1992 via a fourth-order equation for a 3D flow field. A colleague had the equation but couldn’t solve it. He had heard of Mathematica and recommended I try it, which I did. From the solution for the 3D field, the fluid dynamical strain rates and divergence on a certain 2D plane needed to be calculated and presented as contour plots. After I learned enough finally to formulate the computations correctly (even back then without too many lines of code), and with the PCs and Mathematica of that era, it took about 30 minutes to complete the calculations and render the plots. (In 2013 it takes a couple of seconds.) The results explained a mystery and resulted in a well-received special presentation at a DoD agency. Since then, I’ve done everything from 2+2 to fancy shmancy to science and math fun with the great Mathematica—and, because nothing else comes close to it, I always will! Hooray for Wolfram!