August 22, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Educational Partnerships
Are you a teacher who’s been asked “Why am I learning this?”, “How is this going to help me in real life?” and other variations of this question by your students? I know that I faced this when I was teaching, and it can be tough to provide a satisfactory response. However, being able to address this issue is critical in the classroom. We believe that Wolfram|Alpha provides one way to do so.
The Wolfram Knowledgebase, our ever-growing repository of curated computable data, gives you instant access to trillions of data elements across thousands of domains. With Wolfram|Alpha, you can query these data points using natural language (plain English) right in your classroom.
By using real-world data, students have the opportunity to direct their learning toward areas that they care about. In the economics classroom, you can discuss GDP using data about real countries, data that is current and citable. Explore Wolfram|Alpha’s trove of socioeconomic data that will open multiple areas of inquiry in the classroom. A wonderful side effect that I’ve found with using a tool like Alpha is that it also teaches you to pose queries intelligently. Being able to carefully construct a problem is an integral step in the process of thinking critically.
Join us for a special training event on August 24 to learn more about using Wolfram|Alpha in the classroom. This session in the Wolfram|Alpha for Educators: Webinar Training Series will focus on the economics classroom. Previous sessions in this series focused on calculus and physics classrooms, and you can watch our past event recordings online.
July 28, 2016 — Stephanie Oh, Manager, Education Software Technology
Wolfram|Alpha answers a ton of computational and factual questions every day—through our website, mobile apps, APIs, and from within the Wolfram Language itself. Now we would like to introduce a new way to harness the power of computation with the Wolfram|Alpha Add-ons for Google Drive. These free add-ons for Google Docs and Google Sheets enable you to bring up a Wolfram|Alpha sidebar next to your file or get Wolfram|Alpha results instantly, all without interrupting your workflow. To install these add-ons in your Google Drive, click the buttons at the top of our support page.
July 14, 2016 — Connor Flood, Consultant, Wolfram|Alpha Math Content
An idea, some initiative, and great resources allowed me to design and create the world’s first online syntax-free proof generator using induction, which recently went live on 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.
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.
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.
May 19, 2016 — Michael Trott, Chief Scientist
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:
March 14, 2016 — Hy Nguyen, Consultant, Public Relations
Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3.14) every year to properly recognize the constant pi (π=~3.14159)—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. At Wolfram, π plays an important part in every one of our products, allowing users to do everything from getting the basic area of a circle to rendering a π symbol filled with the digits of π. On Pi Day last year (aka the Pi Day of the Century), the folks at SXSW got a very special treat from us in the name of π. This year, we decided to bring the celebration to you by offering exclusive discounts on Mathematica. Get 15% off Mathematica Home Edition and 25% or more off Mathematica Student Edition in select territories, including North and South America, Australia, and parts of Asia and Africa. Regardless of where you are, you can still celebrate with us by finding your Pi Day.
November 11, 2015 — Keiko Hirayama, Wolfram|Alpha Developer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
The human body has been a subject of study since the earliest days of human history. The modern scientific fields of anatomy and physiology stem from the Renaissance symbiosis of art and anatomy. In the early 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci was among the first to accurately sketch bodily structures. In 1543, Andreas Vesalius published the famous textbook De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) with beautiful illustrations of the human body.
With modern technology at our disposal, we can take anatomy and physiology off the page and digitally put it into a readily computable format. Through Wolfram|Alpha, we are making it possible for you to gain further insight into how individual anatomical structures interplay in the human body and explore it from entire organ systems down to microscopic ganglia.
Let’s begin our exploration with a macroscopic structure.
A vital organ of the cardiovascular system, the heart:
September 24, 2015 — Jeffrey Bryant, Research Programmer, Wolfram|Alpha Scientific Content
The popular book The Martian by Andy Weir will be released in movie form on October 2. The Martian is about an astronaut, Mark Watney, stranded alone on Mars. The crew of Ares 3, the third manned mission to Mars, thought he had been killed during an evacuation. When the crew left, they took the only planned means of escape and communication with them. The next manned mission to Mars isn’t for four years, so Watney has to face the fact that he must either figure out how to survive for up to four years on Mars or die. The book does a wonderful job of supplying technical details of the conditions and supplies available, as well as of the problems that arise as a result of using things in ways for which they were not designed. The details are great for allowing us to explore the travels of the main character with the Wolfram Language.
It’s at this point I should probably post a warning: SPOILER ALERT! From here on I will be exploring aspects of the story and so will be giving away plot points. If you don’t like those kinds of details, stop here and go read the book… and then come back and read this blog.
September 16, 2015 — Peter Barendse, Senior Wolfram|Alpha Developer
Before today’s 3D printing technology allowed us to make objects of virtually any shape, humanity was limited in the kind and precision of shapes we could produce. Driven to overcome these limitations, we gradually invented a series of machines that could create ever-more-complicated types of shapes, culminating (just before the 3D printer) in machines like this multiaxis computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) mill:
The first of this series of machines was perhaps the potter’s wheel, which allowed us to make precisely round objects of any profile. To me, it still seems a bit magical to watch as potters trace out a curve with their hands, and seeing, as the wheel spins, that curve get copied all the way around the vase: