September 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 15)
Strong Points: Diverse group of demonstrations covering many subject areas
Weak Points: Scientific background knowledge required for some demonstrations
The heart of the Wolfram Demonstrations Project is “computational exploration” and “open-code demonstrations”…In a word, math. (Don’t run away just yet.) The goal of this project, created by Wolfram Research, is to bring these intimidating concepts to the fingertips of the general public in interesting and accessible ways. The demonstrations cover an expansive range of topics, including the life sciences, creative arts, and computation. They range from kindergarten intellect (identifying animal noises) to quantum physics. So what do these demonstrations allow one to do? Well, one can observe the changes in Eigenfunctions for a linear potential field by varying the force, mass, and energy. One can watch an action potential in…well…action, as the duration and strength of the stimulus are modulated. One can also view optical illusions, or watch a human face emerge from a field of text. No matter your interests, the Wolfram Demonstrations Project offers hundreds of fun and educational demonstrations, all viewable with the free-to-download Mathematica Player.