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"The existence in our midst of computers does not mean, as some fondly suppose, that mathematicians [and others!] no longer have to think---they have to think harder than ever."


Hugh Nibley

Brother Brown's computer algebra system references


Below are links to notebooks and worksheets in Mathematica, Maple, and wxMaxima. The purpose of the notebooks and worksheets is to help students ensure they use correct syntax for CAS tasks that commonly occur in certain math classes at BYU-Idaho. The notebooks and worksheets are quite primitive, by and large. They are not intended to be exhaustive. As a rule, the simplest syntax (within constraints imposed by a given course) is presented, together with a (possibly empty) collection of options sufficient to do the task at hand. If you know of a way to do something presented below that improves on simplicity, clarity, or correctness, please contact me. Thanks!


All non-PDF files are in .zip format, due to University policy about file formats for downloads.


Nothing in this page or any pages whose links appear below is to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.


Quick reference guides


     Matrix operations quick references (Maple, Mathematica, Maxima)


     Vector operations quick reference guide (Maple, Mathematica, Maxima)





Intro to wxMaxima

Arithmetic of numbers

Built-in functions

Solving and simplifying

Basics quick reference

Graphics in (wx)Maxima for Math 215  (DRAFT)

Graphics in the wxMaxima GUI (140 pages, 630 kb)

     Note: This document, while still under construction, does hope to be essentially comprehensive someday.


An inroduction to  using Maxima for calculus: maxima-and-calculus.pdf. This document is outdated; not everything in it works as advertised anymore. But it still can be useful. It's avaliable under the CC share-alike license.


One-dimensional context

Basic Calculus I

Plane curves

Parametric plots
Polar plots
More polar plots (DRAFT)


Surfaces in 3d (DRAFT)

    wxMaxima file (zipped)        pdf

Cylinders (DRAFT)
Quadric surfaces (DRAFT)
Contour plots for surfaces (DRAFT)

    wxMaxima file (zipped)        pdf

Hessians and local quadratic approximations

Space curves

Graphing parameterized curves in R^3 (DRAFT)

    wxMaxima file (zipped)         pdf


Parameterized periodic motion (DRAFT)

     wxMaxima file (zipped)        pdf        gif


Calculus of curves

(Calculating v, a, speed, T, N, curvature, B, and torsion)

     wxMaxima file (zipped)         pdf


Symbolic differentiation of vector functions (DRAFT)

     wxMaxima file (zipped)         pdf


Vector fields

Plotting vector fields

     wxMaxima file (zipped)          pdf

Linear Algebra


                Visualizing linear transformations

                     wxMaxima file (zipped)


Ordinary Differential Equations

                 Direction fields and trajectories

                     wxMaxima file (zipped)

                 Unforced spring-mass systems

                     wxMaxima file (zipped)




     Graphing quadric surfaces


     Direction fields and trajectories





     Introduction to Mathematica, for students of Linear Algebra and Differential Equations


     Graphing quadric surfaces


     Direction fields and trajectories

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