In her reign the power of steam On land and sea became supreme, And all now have strong reliance In fresh victories of science.

— James McIntyre

Queen’s Jubilee Ode 1887

In the past few years, largely because of the software you’ll see in this appendix, Python has become extremely popular with scientists. If you’re a scientist or student yourself, you might have used tools like MATLAB and R, or traditional languages such as Java, C, or C++. In this appendix, you’ll see how Python makes an excellent platform for scientific analysis and publishing.

First, let’s take a little trip back to the standard library and visit some features and modules that we’ve ignored.

Python has a menagerie of math functions in the standard
math library.
Just type ** import math** to access them from your programs.

It has a few constants such as `pi`

and `e`

:

`>>>`

`import`

`math`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`pi`

`>>>`

`3.141592653589793`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`e`

`2.718281828459045`

Most of it consists of functions, so let’s look at the most useful ones.

`fabs()`

returns the absolute value of its argument:

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`fabs`

`(`

`98.6`

`)`

`98.6`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`fabs`

`(`

`-`

`271.1`

`)`

`271.1`

Get the integer below (`floor()`

) and above (`ceil()`

) some number:

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`floor`

`(`

`98.6`

`)`

`98`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`floor`

`(`

`-`

`271.1`

`)`

`-`

`272`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`ceil`

`(`

`98.6`

`)`

`99`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`ceil`

`(`

`-`

`271.1`

`)`

`-`

`271`

Calculate the factorial (in math, *n* `!`

) by using `factorial()`

:

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`factorial`

`(`

`0`

`)`

`1`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`factorial`

`(`

`1`

`)`

`1`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`factorial`

`(`

`2`

`)`

`2`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`factorial`

`(`

`3`

`)`

`6`

`>>>`

`math`

`.`

`factorial`

`(`

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