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A Physicist's Guide to Mathematica, 2nd Edition by Patrick T. Tam

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Chapter 1. The First Encounter

Mathematica consists of two parts: the kernel and the front end. The kernel conducts the computations, and the front end provides the interface between the user and the kernel. Whereas the kernel remains the same, the front end is optimized for each kind of computer system.

This chapter shows the neophyte how to get started with Mathematica. After introducing some basic features and capabilities of Mathematica, it examines the online help and warning messages provided by the kernel and then brings up the notion of “packages” that extend the built-in capabilities of Mathematica. It concludes with a discussion of notebook front ends.

The First Ten Minutes

Let us begin by opening a new Mathematica document, called a “notebook.” ...

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