Kristin McCoy

Explore Yoga with Wolfram|Alpha

June 20, 2016 — Kristin McCoy, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content

Each person enters a yoga class with their own unique goals. Some hope to stretch their legs, while others might want to strengthen their core, improve their balance, perform an advanced pose, or simply destress. As a yoga teacher, my goal is to balance my classes to accommodate everyone’s needs and deliver information that will be potent and relevant for as many students as possible. However, there is so much information to explore in the field of yoga that it would be impossible to deliver it all in an hour-long class. Now it is possible for yoga enthusiasts and budding students alike to explore yoga using Wolfram|Alpha.

Camel Pose Extended Leg Stretch

You can now use Wolfram|Alpha to discover information about 216 yoga poses. If you want to learn about a pose, you can search by either its English or Sanskrit name and find basic instructions, along with an illustration. You can also look at the muscles that the pose stretches and strengthens, get ideas for ways to vary the pose, or learn about preparatory poses that you can use to build up toward more difficult poses. If you are recovering from an injury or ailment, you can check a list of precautions and contraindications to discover if the pose might be aggravating for your condition. You can also learn about commonly practiced sequences of yoga poses, such as the Sun Salutation.


Zach Littrell

Special Event: Solving Image Processing Problems

June 17, 2016 — Zach Littrell, Technical Content Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Satellite images, MRIs, live video feeds, and your family vacation photos can sometimes need light or heavy-duty touchups. Finding features, removing backgrounds, filtering for noise, and fixing oddities are common image processing problems for all sorts of 2D and 3D images. Luckily, the Wolfram Language can help you solve them.

Join us for a free special virtual event, Solving Image Processing Problems: Wolfram Language Virtual Workshop, on June 22, 2016, 1–3pm US EDT (5–7pm GMT). Learn how to tackle problems involving images using current and upcoming features of the Wolfram Language and Mathematica 11. Also engage in interactive Q&A with the workshop’s hosts, Wolfram Language experts Shadi Ashnai and Markus van Almsick.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa The Unleaning Tower of Pisa, courtesy of a few lines of Wolfram Language code


Posted in: Image Processing

Emily Suess

Wolfram Community Highlights: Animation, Chernoff Faces, Fingerprint ID, and More

June 14, 2016 — Emily Suess, Technical Writer, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Wolfram Community members continue to create amazing applications and visuals. Take a look at a few of our recent favorites.

Wolfram Language animations make it easier to understand and investigate concepts and phenomena. They’re also just plain fun. Among recent simple but stunning animations, you’ll find “Deformations of the Cairo Tiling” and “Contours of a Singular Surface” by Clayton Shonkwiler, a mathematician and artist interested in geometric models of physical systems, and “Transit of Mercury 2016” by Sander Huisman, a postdoc in Lyon, France, researching Lagrangian turbulence.

Recreation of the Cairo pentagonal tiling


Rob Morris

Special Event: Computational Thinking with Wolfram|Alpha

June 9, 2016 — Rob Morris, Education Product Analyst, Business Analysis

Last month marked the seventh anniversary of Wolfram|Alpha. Since its launch, Wolfram|Alpha has earned a reputation as an indispensable tool for learning math and many other topics. We have been continually adding new content and capabilities to Wolfram|Alpha, and now we want to show you how it can be used to support computational thinking in any classroom.

We invite you to join us at a special virtual event, Wolfram|Alpha in Your Classroom: Virtual Workshop for Educators, on June 15, 2016, 2–3pm US EDT (6–7pm GMT). Come see examples of how Wolfram|Alpha’s built-in data and analysis capabilities can be used to enrich many types of classes, and take the opportunity to preview upcoming tools from Wolfram that will make teaching and learning easier.

Special event: Wolfram|Alpha in Your Classroom: Virtual Workshop for Educators


Posted in: Education, Wolfram|Alpha

Michael Trott

What Do Gravitational Crystals Really Look (i.e. Move) Like?

June 2, 2016 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

In a recent blog, Stephen Wolfram discusses the idea of what he calls “gravitational crystals.” These are infinite arrays of gravitational bodies in periodic motion. Two animations of mesmerizing movements of points were given as examples of what gravitational crystals could look like, but no explicit orbit calculations were given.

In this blog, I will carefully calculate explicit numerical examples of gravitational crystal movements. The “really” in the title should be interpreted as a high-precision, numerical solution to an idealized model problem. It should not be interpreted as “real world.” No retardation, special or general relativistic effects, stability against perturbation, tidal effects, or so on are taken into account in the following calculations. More precisely, we will consider the simplest case of a gravitational crystal: two gravitationally interacting, rigid, periodic 2D planar arrays embedded in 3D (meaning a 1/distance2 force law) of masses that can move translationally with respect to each other (no rotations between the two lattices). Each infinite array can be considered a crystal, so we are looking at what could be called the two-crystal problem (parallel to, and at the same time in distinction to, the classical gravitational two-body problem).

Crystals in motion


Posted in: Wolfram Language

Jon McLoone

2016 Wolfram European Technology Tour Dates and Locations

May 26, 2016 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development

Following three years of successful European Wolfram Technology Conferences in Frankfurt, we decided to do things a bit differently this year and bring the conference to you.

Over a span of five days from June 6 to 10, we will be running a series of one-day mini conferences in London, Zurich, Berlin, Eindhoven, and Warsaw.

Wolfram European Technology Tour cities


Posted in: Education, Wolfram News

Michael Trott

An Exact Value for the Planck Constant: Why Reaching It Took 100 Years

May 19, 2016 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist

Blog communicated on behalf of Jean-Charles de Borda.

Some thoughts for World Metrology Day 2016

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of precision and science
I’ve been around for a long, long time
Stole many a man’s pound and toise
And I was around when Louis XVI
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that metric rules
Through platinum standards made forever
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name

Introduction and about me

In case you can’t guess: I am Jean-Charles de Borda, sailor, mathematician, scientist, and member of the Académie des Sciences, born on May 4, 1733, in Dax, France. Two weeks ago would have been my 283rd birthday. This is me:

Jean-Charles de Borda


Oleg Marichev
Yury Brychkov

New Derivatives of the Bessel Functions Have Been Discovered with the Help of the Wolfram Language!

May 16, 2016
Oleg Marichev, Integration & Special Function Developer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
Yury Brychkov, Consultant, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content

Nearly two hundred years after Friedrich Bessel introduced his eponymous functions, expressions for their derivatives with respect to parameters, valid over the double complex plane, have been found.

In this blog we will show and briefly discuss some formerly unknown derivatives of special functions (primarily Bessel and related functions), and explore the history and current status of differentiation by parameters of hypergeometric and other functions. One of the main formulas found (more details below) is a closed form for the first derivative of one of the most popular special functions, the Bessel function J:

The first derivative of the Bessel J function with respect to its parameter


Rob Morris

Special Event: New Wolfram Language Resources for the Classroom

May 13, 2016 — Rob Morris, Education Product Analyst, Business Analysis

Earlier this year we launched Wolfram Programming Lab as the place to start learning the Wolfram Language. And since launch, we’ve received a lot of feedback and support from educators and students interested in using Programming Lab in their classrooms.

Programming Lab was conceived and designed with teaching in mind, and to help make Programming Lab the best possible learning environment, we’ve developed some new tools for both students and teachers. We invite you to preview these new materials at a special virtual event, New Resources for the Classroom: Virtual Workshop for Educators.

New Resources for the Classroom: Virtual Workshop for Educators


Posted in: Education

Silvia Hao

Computational Stippling: Can Machines Do as Well as Humans?

May 6, 2016 — Silvia Hao, Consultant, Technical Communications and Strategy Group

Stippling in art

Stippling is a kind of drawing style using only points to mimic lines, edges, and grayscale. The entire drawing consists only of dots on a white background. The density of the points gives the impression of grayscale shading.

Back in 1510, stippling was first invented as an engraving technique, and then became popular in many fields because it requires just one color of ink.

Here is a photo of a fine example taken from an exhibition of lithography and copperplate art (the Centenary of European Engraving Exhibition held at the Hubei Museum of Art in March 2015; in case you’re curious, here is the museum’s official page in English).

Photo of a piece from lithography and copperplate art exhibit at Hubei Museum of Art