February 13, 2008 — Jeffrey Bryant, Scientific Information Group

As an editor for The Wolfram Demonstrations Project, I see many new submissions every day. The amount of variety is sometimes staggering. Occasionally, we have events that trigger Demonstrations based on a theme, and Valentine’s Day is one such event.

What in the world do Demonstrations have to do with Valentine’s Day?

Take a look at some of the new set of Demonstrations that are available for this February 14. They include a puzzle, a parametric surface, an algebraic surface, two parametric curves, and one that’s just plain fun. Its amazing to see how mathematics can be applied to everyday topics (and matters of the heart), not just to classroom math or science.

Broken Heart Tangram
Broken Heart Tangram
A Rose for Valentines Day
A Rose for Valentines Day
Equations for Valentines
Equations for Valentines
Sweet Heart
Sweet Heart
The Polar Equations
of Hearts and Flowers
The Polar Equations of Hearts and Flowers
Cupid’s Arrow
Cupid's Arrow

Stay tuned for a blog post from Chris Carlson with details about how he “lovingly” created his “Sweet Heart” Demonstration.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Demonstrations the next holidays might bring.

December 28, 2007 — George Beck, Scientific Information Group

I do love gadgets, linkages, clockworks, all that 19th-century cogs-and-wheels technology. So much easier to see than our 21st-century nanotubes and zillion transistors on a chip.

Sándor Kabai has written many Demonstrations illustrating such mechanisms. A few of his latest are:

Gyroscopic Joint TheStraightLine as a Roulette
Gyroscopic Joint Straight Line as a Roulette
Lemniscate Plotting Device Helicopter Tilt Control
Lemniscate Plotting Device Helicopter Tilt Control

What makes these interesting is that playing with the various parameters lets you vary both the geometric setup and the controls that make the mechanism go through its motion.

One in the same vein is from Stephan Heiss:

Mechanical Involute Gears

It shows how gears work. Amazing! You can vary the geometry to the point where the gears lock up and change gear ratios to get a really good understanding of what makes gears tick.

October 14, 2007 — Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic & International Development

My announcement last Thursday that you can publish almost any Mathematica notebook so it’s interactive in our free Player brings about much more of a change than you might first think.

In my Technology Conference talk, I explained how this new Publish for Player service removes one of the last hurdles to making new applications as everyday as new documents. And in turn that initiates a new era of communicating technical ideas.

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October 5, 2007 — Joe Bolte, Director of Consulting, Wolfram Solutions

The Demonstrations team has been very busy behind the scenes lately. Even though I work on The Wolfram Demonstrations Project every day, it amazes me to see that we’ve published nearly 2,000 Demonstrations already. And we’re working hard to add site features (many of which are user-suggested) at the same time.

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June 8, 2007 — Christopher Carlson, Senior User Interface Developer, User Interfaces

One of the challenges of developing Mathematica is resisting the urge to spend all my time playing with the graphics toys I create. A lot of what I do results in features so fun to explore that they jeopardize the further development of Mathematica. I’d like to point out a few of them in this blog, starting with a simple but profound change in the behavior of Mathematica graphics: direct graphics output.

In previous versions of Mathematica, the result of a Plot or other graphics command was the abbreviated form  - Graphics -  that represented the symbolic output. The actual graphical image itself was spit out like a watermelon seed as a side-effect of the evaluation and was not associated with the symbolic output.

In Mathematica 6, the output and the image are one and the same, behavior we call “direct output” to contrast it with the “side-effect output” of previous versions. This simple change in behavior underlies much of the interesting new functionality in Version 6.

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May 4, 2007 — Joe Bolte, Director of Consulting, Wolfram Solutions

Now that Mathematica 6 is out, I can finally talk about an amazing site we’ve built with it–The Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

The Demonstrations Project is a collection of interactive visualizations made using Mathematica 6. You can preview the Demonstrations on the web and download them to run in Mathematica or the free Mathematica Player.

We began the project last year, when Stephen Wolfram realized that the dynamic capabilities we were building into Mathematica 6 would allow users to create and share new interactive content much faster than ever before.

From an initial seed of a few dozen, the site has already grown to almost 1,300 Demonstrations, with more pouring in each day. And if you have Mathematica 6, making your own Demonstrations is as easy as completing and uploading an authoring notebook. Any Mathematica 6 user can participate.

The Demonstrations are all open-code, so you can even see how each one is built (usually with just a few short lines of Mathematica).

Take a few moments to explore the site. It’s grown so much that even someone like me–who works on it full time–is constantly surprised by what’s there. It has everything from interactive addition tables to molecular models and more.

Explore 3D graphics. Watch calculus being done. Create your own computer-generated art.

I can’t wait to see how the new methods of education, research, and collaboration that the site enables take form in this exciting publishing medium. The site’s features and the collection of Demonstrations that you’ll find there now are just the beginning.

I hope you enjoy what we’ve made, and that you’ll let us know any ideas you have about it.