Since I’ve never done any specifically science review, I thought this Sunday that I’d give some shoutouts to two of my favorite time-savers: Mathematica and my TI-89

Mathematica is software that does all sorts of powerful things: graphing (I’ve done pretty 3D graphs for classes in my undergraduate days), matrix operations, summations, and so on. My favorite part of Mathematica is that it will integrate and take derivatives. I’m totally capable of doing them by hand, either through a table or the good ol’ fashioned way, I also know that some of the ugly, nasty ones just ask for silly mistakes or a bit more time-consuming than I care to take.  The only difficult thing is like most software, you have to learn its language and its quirks. That can be very frustrating (see me and Matlab this quarter), but for my basic tasks, I found Mathematica quite easy to learn.

If you have no access to Mathematica (I think it’s quite pricey; I use it at school), you can still integrate via the Integrator. Wolfram, Mathematica’s manufacturer, generously allows people to integrate online through it.

I added my calculator for the same reason. I use the factorial/sinh/cosh functions (though I hear the TI-83s also have it), but it’s nice to have an at home integrator and derivative taker. Being so small, it isn’t nearly as powerful as Mathematica, but it normally does the job, even with some of the larger integrals.

I don’t have a cheaper solution to the TI-89 like I do with Mathematica, but I know that you can get fairly inexpensive electronics via sites like Craig’s List when school ends in June; college kids love selling their stuff for ridiculously low prices.