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More Mathematica News Can Be Found at www.wolfram.com/news.


USA/Minnesota team crafts award-winning snow sculpture  
January 24,
2000

The Wolfram Research-sponsored USA/Minnesota team captured second place in the elite 10th annual International Snow Sculpture Championships held in Breckenridge, Colorado during January this year. The team was one of only 17 chosen out of 24 to participate in this year's competition, which included representation from the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland.

In June 2000, the Wolfram team's sculpture, entitled "Rhapsody in White," was named U.S. Snow Sculpture of the Month by the national federation. The team received an official invitation to the Olympic Trials in February 2001, to be held in Lake Placid. The winner of that event will be the U.S. entry at the Salt Lake City Olympics. This is not an official Olympic event, but it is a "cultural event" and is held alongside each Olympics.

"Rhapsody in White" (above) was of a Mathematica-generated Enneper surface of degree two--a beautiful minimal surface with tremendous symmetry and aesthetic appeal. The Enneper surface belongs to the family of geometric, minimal surfaces discovered by Alfred Enneper in 1864. A minimal surface is one whose area becomes greater whenever it is pushed or pulled a little, ranging from the simple flat plane to the well-known catenoid and helicoid. At every point, minimal surfaces have saddle points, which give them great strength and allow them to be carved very thin out of snow or ice.

Contest entrants were each allocated a 20-ton, 10x10x12-foot block of snow from which to create their sculpture using only non-power hand tools. USA/Minnesota team members included Robert Longhurst, an experienced wood and stone sculptor but snow-carving neophyte; returning team members Stan Wagon and Dan Schwalbe, faculty in the Mathematics Department of Macalester College; and Andy Cantrell, a sophomore at Macalester College. John Bruning of the Tropel Corporation served as the non-sculpting team photographer and manager.

Although first place went to the Russian team for their soaring tribute to the new millennium, and third place went to the Swiss team for their intricately carved sphere, the USA/Minnesota team won two out of the other three awards presented on Saturday. The team received the Artists' Choice Award (voting by the sculptors) and the People's Choice Award (voting by the approximately 15,000 event spectators). The Kids' Choice Award went to the USA/Breckenridge team for its butterfly and rose.

Team captain Stan Wagon was very pleased with the community's positive reaction to a mathematical sculpture. In his acceptance speech, Wagon excitedly acknowledged that, even as mathematicians, "true understanding can be obtained only by interacting with the piece in a truly three-dimensional way. This is what snow allows us to do. In a very short period of time and with a minimum of tools, we can sculpt a complicated shape and so learn much more about it. It's a glorious opportunity and tremendous fun."

For further information and an extensive photographic display of the event, visit the USA/Minnesota team home page. The team is also featured in the MathTrek column on the MAA site.

Additional photos from last year's 1999 International Snow Sculpture Championships are also available.


Archive of electronic journals planned 
February 1, 2000

Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press believes that it has solved the problem of long-term archiving of electronic journals, thus removing one of the main reasons for librarians' reluctance to embrace the new medium.

HighWire Press announced in February of this year that it has devised a comprehensive plan for preserving and assuring access to the more than 170 scholarly journals it hosts on the web. While protecting journal publishers, the plan addresses complex archival problems that can cause libraries and other consumers to be hesitant about subscribing to online academic journals. "Preserving and protecting information is one of the core functions of libraries," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University librarian and publisher of HighWire Press. "As librarians running HighWire as a service to academia and its publishers, we are just as concerned with the preservation of the online journals as we are with preserving rare books and manuscripts. The techniques are different, but the goal is the same: to make sure the information remains available and accessible, now and in the future."

Full text of the announcement .


Calculus WIZ now compatible with Mathematica Version 4

Application package updates are now available for Calculus WIZ.  To update your current version of Calculus WIZ, go to www.wolfram.com/products/applications/updates/.  For more information about Calculus WIZ, go to www.wolfram.com/products/student/calcwiz/.


Mathematica 4 Supports Windows 2000  
March 24, 2000

Wolfram Research has announced that Microsoft Windows 2000 has been added to the list of supported platforms for Mathematica 4. 

"I've been running it on my own system for over six weeks now. Our experience is that Windows 2000 is a great environment to run Mathematica in, and we've discovered no problems specific to the shipping versions of Windows 2000," says John Fultz, Manager of Front End Technologies at Wolfram Research.

"Our Quality Assurance department has fully tested Mathematica 4 under Windows 2000 with very satisfactory results," he added. Windows 2000, the latest operating system from Microsoft, integrates the best features of Windows 98 with the strength of the Windows NT platform technology. Mathematica's platform-independent, leading-edge design makes it easily compatible with most new software and emerging technologies.


Mathematica Technical Center Established in Brazil 
April 14, 2000

A new Mathematica Technical Center (MTC) at the University Federal of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil was inaugurated on March 29, 2000. 

The opening ceremony included presentations by Professor Segen Estefen, Director of COPPE/UFRJ, and Professor Renato Cotta, General Coordinator for the MTC, as well as a videoconference with strategic executives from Wolfram Research, Inc. The event included a tour of the new training and technical facilities, which are hosted by the Laboratory of Transmission and Technology of Heat of the Mechanical Engineering Department of EE/COPPE, UFRJ.

The MTC is a Mathematica training, research, and consulting center under the co-sponsorship and technical support of Wolfram Research. The MTC will provide the general public with Mathematica training and consulting services on both an individual and a group basis. 

"The idea for the Mathematica Technical Center came from conversations I had with Professor Renato Cotta and Professor Mikhail Mikhailov at the university during my trip to Brazil last September, and we're delighted to see this idea become a reality so quickly," said Anya Foreman, International Business Development Executive for Wolfram Research.

For more information about the consulting and training services offered at the MTC, visit http://www.lttc.com.ufrj.br/mtc or send email to mtc@lttc.com.ufrj.br.


MathML International Conference 2000

The first international conference on MathML will be hosted by Wolfram Research at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, on October 20-21, 2000.

This conference will present current research and applications involving MathML (Mathematical Markup Language), an XML application for describing mathematical notation and capturing both its presentation and its content. The MathML standard has been adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international organization that defines the formats for storing and transmitting web information. The conference embraces all areas of MathML technologies, including rendering, authoring, converting, and archiving. It is the aim of the conference to bring together all those who are interested or involved in the future of math on the web.

For more information, visit http://www.mathmlconference.org/