Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

The Mathematica Story: A Scrapbook

Three Decades of Contributions to Invention, Discovery and Education

Johannes Smits, Mathematica user since 1988

I cannot believe that it is already 25 years ago that I started using Mathematica. I have used it maybe daily since I became a Mathematica addict. I have brought up around 20 generations of students with it, and I hope that there may be some onto whom the addiction has been transferred.

I was in the middle of a long calculation by hand of the constituent equations of homogeneous piezoelectric bimorphs that took me about six months to complete and remove errors. Then Mathematica came along and I could derive the constituent equations of heterogeneous piezoelectric bimorphs, which is a much more complex affair, in a single month. Then I could derive the dynamic admittance matrix for both devices also in a matter of a few months.

The papers I wrote about these equations, in the early nineties, are still cited regularly.

Just last fall, I derived an expression for the capacitance of a heterogeneous piezoelectric bimorph with a tip mass. A colleague who works in the field of electric energy  harvesting from environmental vibrations using piezoelectric bimorphs with a tip mass told me that everyone in that field used my equations, as these were the only ones there were. The field of electrical energy harvesting from waste vibrations is growing rapidly.

Had it not been for Mathematica, there would not have been these equations and there would have been much less progress in this area. Therefore, I thank you for presenting Mathematica to the academic world. In a way, I think that the methods of theoretical physics have been much improved by Mathematica. I think that the creation of Mathematica more deserves a Nobel Prize in Physics, more than some of the research performed within the last decade.

In my humble opinion, of which I very much doubt that it carries any weight, I think that the creators of Mathematica deserve a Nobel Prize in Physics.