Items tagged with history

Last week Michael Pisapia, Maplesoft European VP, attended the opening reception of Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum in London. Ahead of being open to the public on 8th December, contributors and donors were invited to take a look behind the scenes of the new gallery, which explores how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world over the last four hundred years.

The gallery is a spectacular space, designed by the world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, housing over a hundred artefacts of mathematical origin or significance. It is divided up into disciplines ranging from navigation to risk assessment, and gambling to architecture. Inspired by the Handley Page aircraft, the largest object on display, and suspended as the centrepiece, the gallery is laid out using principles of mathematics and physics. It follows the lines of airflow around it in a stunning display of imagined aerodynamics, brought to life using light and sculpture. You can learn more about its design in this video.

Guests at the reception enjoyed a specially commissioned piece of music from the Royal College of Music titled ‘Gugnunc’, named after the aircraft and inspired by the rhythms of Morse code and mathematical and mechanical processes, and performed at the centre of the gallery.

Of course any exhibit celebrating all things maths is of great interest to us here at Maplesoft, but this one especially so, since Mathematics: The Winton Gallery showcases the earliest available version of Maple.

A copy of Maple V, from 1997, sits in ‘The Power of Computers’ section of the Winton Gallery, in an exhibit which tells the story of the significant role played by mathematical software in improving the quality of mathematics education and research. Other objects in the section include a Calculating Machine from the Scientific Service circa 1939, a PDP-8 minicomputer from the 1960s, and part of Charles Babbage’s mid-19th century analytical engine, intended as a high-powered mathematical calculator.

As many of you will remember, Maple V was a major milestone in the history of Maple, providing unparalleled interactivity, powerful symbolics and creative visualization in mathematical computation and modeling. For a walk down memory lane, check out Maple V: The Future of Mathematics (ca. 1994) on YouTube.

Seeing this copy of Maple finally in place in the exhibit marks the end of a long journey – and not just in the miles it travelled to arrive at the museum from its home in Canada. When we were first approached by the Science Museum for a donation of Maple, we launched a hunt to find not just the right copy of Maple with its box and manuals, but also artefacts that showcased the origin and history of Maple. It was a journey down memory lane for the inventors of Maple as well as the first few employees as they dug out old correspondences, photos, posters and other memorabilia that could be showcased. Today they can be proud of their contribution to this display at the Science Museum. 

Although the case of historic software packages is visually less impressive than many of the other items in the gallery, it certainly attracted plenty of attention as guests made their way in for the first time. 

For fans of Maple V - and there are many - it’s reassuring that the Science Museum are now entrusted with preserving not only the iconic packaging, but with telling the story of Maple’s history and marking its place in the evolution of mathematics and technology.

To learn more about Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, its highlights and architecture, visit

To see the timeline of Maple’s evolution over the years, visit:

On a related post here, I have posted some screen shots for fun. Today is a special day for me in particular, because I passed my PhD viva with minor corrections! If you look colsely on the date, by coincidence, it was TWO years ago exactly. So I feel like I maybe 'update' the old post with a bit more, to make it V2.


So here comes the new screent shots: (Bear with me for now, I will post some actual content about how I feel when using Maple later.)

Alright, enough with the screent shots. If you click to see the big picture, you would notice that I have managed to get a complete sets of Maple versions from Maple V to Maple 2015!



I am originally from Shanghai and I have always done well in Maths and science. I first heard about Maple in 2004 from a Maths teacher. He introduced me to this software. I played just a couple of times with Maple 6 on his computer, to get a first impression. At that time, all I could say was, hmmm insteresting.


In 2006, I went to UK for a foundation course. That was the first time I was actually taught how to use Maple 9.5. So I had access to it on the university computers. I discovered a lot about Maple and used it for ALL my Maths homeworks. Yes, I am lazy. I hope that Maple can do everything!


Then I got fascinated with Maple. Unfortunately, Maple was not taught in the undergraduate course. But there are materials for self-learning. By that time, I had become quite good with most of the contents in those materials. So I went look for other things to try. I went to ask my foundation course classmates, to see if they have anything on Maple and if they needed the help. One of them was at Imperial College and the questions were a bit chanlleging (finally!). That was the time I first met MaplePrimes! Hello, how have you been?


After that I have never stopped using Maple or Maple Primes. I may have been quite on the forum, but I was there. My PhD research rely hugely on the ability to compute the symbolic rank of certain matrices as well as the ability to simplifiying complicated expressions using siderules.


I do not want to talk too much about the technical details when using Maple. But I do

THANK Maple and it creators, developers and all relavent staff around the globe.

THANK Maple Primes and all its users. Some users have been particulary helpful!


Lastly, I dont have any other words to say other than this:

It's been really fun and enjoyable. Thanks!



I would like to pay attention to .
Comparing the Galileo's calculation 87654/53 with the capacity of Maple, the question arises:
"Are we  cleverer than Galileo Galilei?". I don't know the answer.

A set of three taped video interviews with famous physicist and mathematician Cornelius Lanczos (1893-1974) has been made available online by the University of Manchester.

Can someone explain to me how I flush the memory build up that occurs as Maple keeps track of historical execution?

If I, for example, write a FOR loop that iterates a huge amount of times and don't include the colon after "end do", but rather use the semicolon, the memory usage keeps creeping up and then finally Maple just goes off into never land and never comes back.

I tried this in Windows and Mac OS X.  Same results.

I thought I could add an interface(historysize=?...

I've never been to Ireland, but this was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard of "mathematical tourism":

As the story goes (recounted here among other places), on October 16, 1843, the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was walking along the Royal Canal in Dublin with his wife, when he invented the basic relation defining the quaternions. (He had previously been thinking about ways of extending the complex numbers to higher dimensions.) Supposedly, he was so excited by this that he carved i=j=k=ijk=-1 into nearby Brougham Bridge, which must have been one of the most spectacularly opaque pieces of graffiti in history. Unfortunately, there is no trace of such a carving now, but there is a plaque commemorating Hamilton's idea.

William Rowan Hamilton Plaque - - 347941

Licence: JP [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

According to the article, since 1989 mathematicians from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth have organized a pilgrimage from Dunsink Observatory to the bridge on the anniversary of Hamilton's discovery. So if you're ever in Dublin in October, you assuredly have someplace to go.

(But be sure not to commute there! :))

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