Scot Gould

Scot Gould

687 Reputation

14 Badges

11 years, 62 days
Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, Scripps College
Professor of Physics
Upland, California, United States
Dr. Scot Gould is a professor of physics in the W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges - members of The Claremont Colleges in California. He was involved in the early development of the atomic force microscope. His research has included numerous studies and experiments using scanning probe microscopes, particularly those involving natural fibers such as spider silk. More recently, he was involved in developing and sustaining AISS. This full-year multi-unit, non-traditional, interdisciplinary undergraduate science education course integrated topics from biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. His current interest is integrating computational topics into the physics curriculum. He teaches the use of Maple's computer algebraic and numerical systems to assist students in modeling and visualizing physical and biological systems. His Dirac-notation-based quantum mechanics course is taught solely through Maple.

MaplePrimes Activity

These are replies submitted by Scot Gould

@Mac Dude 

Thanks Mac Dude for your thoughts. A goal of my inquiry was to answer the question – am I missing something. It sounds like I may not.


I teach courses that range from introductory physics to upper division quantum mechanics. I absolutely agree with you that part of being familiar with a concept is to work with it, but not to spend gobs of hours plowing through mindless algebra or revisiting tables of integrals. Your approach to using Maple appears to be similar to mine, though you are more organized I given that you provide them with a spiral-bound book. I am often modifying last year’s worksheets the day before class based upon the abilities of the particular class. My students general like Maple, since it is readable, provides a record of calculations, and makes pretty plots and animation. Once they realize that have to be precise in wording and labeling (case-sensitive), I see them using it in other courses. And the beauty of introducing Maple early in the intro courses is that by the time the students are taking quantum mechanics, I can simply say: solve this problem, forcing them to write the worksheets from scratch.


With regards to my inquiry, I may be teaching some non-science majors courses and so canned applications are very useful. PhET at the University of Colorado is a prime goto website for the types of applications I envision writing.


It looks like we have similar takes on MapleCloud, though yours is based on actual experience. I appreciate your response.

@acer Thanks for your suggestion which does satisty the conditions. As an educator who has to explain this to students, I prefer if rules regarding the entry of parameters be consistant and should be consistant in the help. The help says: fieldstrength = log, which I believe should be entered as a string.It does not allow me to pass a function. For example, I can't say "fieldstrength" = "exp".  Hence I consider this outcome as a bug.

@Carl Love Worth a try, but the output is: log, ln
Which appears to tell me nothing.

Here is the code:

plots:-fieldplot(<x,y>, x=0..1, y=0..1, fieldstrength=log);  #which works
plots:-fieldplot(<x,y>, x=0..1, y=0..1, fieldstrength=log); # which fails

@Carl Love 

Your suggestion is great for the display. Thanks. However, larger images on the display produces a plot fills an entire page upon printing.  On my QHD display, to print a plot (or create a PDF of a plot) that is less than half the size of the page, I have to resize the plot to nearly a postage stamp. Do you know of an option to resize the plot upon printing?

I like large monitors, so I'm happy with double 27 inch versions, though I would love to move to a single 34 inch monitor. 

However, what I can say that I don't recommend is a quad-high-density (QHD) monitor. I have such a screen on the laptop. Plots ave very tiny and too thin. If I expand the size of the plot, then a PDF of the worksheet makes the plot huge! In addition, if I want to see a print-preview, the image is far too small and is clipped. 

Sorry, nothing shown for the Maplet. :-(

Note, there is an error in the worksheet. Amplitude is the 1 / sqrt(Normalization_integral), i.e., A:=evalf(Normalization_integral)^(-1/2).


The following simple example works for one example. It is something I have written for my course, so it is more "verbose" that what you need. Normalizing_wavefunction.pdf


While I applaud Maplesoft's desire to try a new format and presentation, this one leads to making Maple Primes less functional. A user is forced to scroll continuously even to read one submission. Way too much space between lines of text and way too much space without information. 

On a separate issue, I usually follow Primes through an RSS feed. Sadly, it is still inundated with spam. However, I can understand that blocking spam from an open forum is challenging.

@dpaddy I am aware of the currentdir() function, but it does not address the issue I have where I want to export (or save as) files to the directory from which I open the file. For example, under Windows 10, I open the file in the \user\gould\maple directory by clicking on the file name. Now if I want to create a PDF, the default should be is to put the PDF back into the same directory. But on one of my computer, the menu opens up with a listing of my desktop folder, hence I have to move around to get back to \user\gould\maple. I hope that is clear.



What is odd is that it work

Thank you for the extensive contributions to my question. First, an apology, I should have waited a day before posting, since there were a number of “less than useful” statements, the first being the posting was incorrectly titled.  It should have been “Pedagogical choices using Maple”

But I feel that you folks have addressed the big question, which is: which selections should we make that will provide the the most benefit for the students. Of course what choices we make depends upon the audience: those who may use Maple only for a course or two, vs. those who may see it for many courses.

I agree with Edgardo, we are talking Standard GUI, not classic.

For installations, I have noted that the default in mode is Document mode. I have had the students set the default to Worksheet mode for many of the reasons cited by acer. But I’m open to changing if there are benefits. Personally, I find the output of Document mode potentially more attractive, but more error inducing. Hence, I write out all sample Maple worksheets using worksheet mode so that the students have something to mimic.  Unless the document is particularly complex, I upload PDF versions of the worksheets as opposed to native .mw files. This choice forces the students to practice reproducing the commands.  

My choice of words, “call and respond”, refers to the worksheets version of writing a command, seeing the response by Maple, and having everything grouped together. While I agree the vertical bars may appear distracting, I believe they help the student to organize commands and the outcomes. Otherwise, I could simply switch to Document mode. However, if others had a different experience, I am willing to change.

Some of my colleagues do use Document mode because they treat Maple mostly as a Wolfram Alpha calculator, a “one command, one outcome” type system.  I prefer to include more depth when working with Maple, using the outcome of one command as the basis for the next.  For many of my students, they are first-year/freshman who have had limited exposure to programing. I feel Maple is a gentle, but highly productive way to introduce some basic ideas of programming. Fortunately for me, in upper-division courses, such as Townsend/Griffiths level quantum mechanics, students have been exposed to a great deal of programming and worksheets with loops, procedures and functions are easily readable to them.

As for 1D Maple notation vs. 2D notation, I agree with acer that there are clear advantages of the 1D typesetting for the reasons acer states. Missing multiplication signs (e.g. k(x-b) when one means k*(x-b)), extra spaces (e.g. the extra space between with and (plots) ) , and sometimes the WYS is not the WYG effect. For such errors, I ask the students to simply retype the command line. But on the other hand, the 2D is very easy to read while inputting it AND easier to read when I hand them a worksheet for the first time. Students in upper division courses still prefer the 2D notation even though they have been used to Python and MATLAB from other courses. Some have wondered why there isn’t a color coding editing system in Maple like there is for other systems. My sense is that until Maple uses some sort of color coding system for the 1D input, I’m going to stick with 2D, but I may experiment this coming year since I will have a new class coming in who have not been exposed to Maple yet.

Finally, I agree with acer – command-completion is the preferred method over palettes. But for students who may use Maple only as a form of a Wolfram Alpha system, the palettes and context-menu are useful. Beyond my first year course, such choices are discouraged.

I too have used Maple for about 20 years for both research and education, both with success and failures. Some of the less mature students hate it, but most of the students recognize the value of it. (Occasionally I catch them using it for other courses. Shocking! But you would be surprised how common it is for students to compartmentalize disciplines and courses. ) And for many students Maple ends up becoming a type of drug. They can’t add two numbers without it. J

Now that classes have ended, I have some spare time from I look forward to reading more from Maple Primes and Maplesoft regarding educational issues. I certainly enjoy the contributions of Robert Lopez, but I would also be interested in hearing about the experiences of other educators.  

@acer None - I misread your post.

@acer Try from n=-1..1. Result is 2, Pi, 2

If no one is able to recommend a solution, though given the number of "thumbs up" it appears others may have experienced the same issue, can someone recommend another location where I can post this question? I'm sure the solution has to be somewhere in an initialization or option data files. Yes, it is not a huge problem, but it is a pain.

Has anyone used the 3rd party Maple IDE by Digiarea?

Since my set of clients are undergraduates the standard Maple docs should be best for them... but I have issues (See : )

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