What is this book about? Please take this book as it is, a working docu- ment. It started as an idea that has grown. It will never be correct but should be self-correcting. In the limit, if there is one, the book should approach a 'correct' state. It is not the detail, and the numbers, that matter, but the structures and the order. These structures are inherently linked with the many minds that have made Maple, the minds of perhaps the best mathematicians, certainly some of the most useful. Our environment is not separate from mathematics; mathematics is but one tool, of several, to help with understanding the environment. It is a harsh tool that requires numbers and symbolism; Maple handles the symbolism superbly; numbers need more consideration. We have included a substantial amount on reading and writing numbers, data, and dealing with floating point numbers. It is the 'devil in the detail' that continually comes back to us in working with Mathematics and Maple. It becomes 'raw' and defined. Many of the things we do have rational and logical bases, but we don't know what they are. Often, in following the code and 'talking' with an input line to Maple, the detailed way of performing a task becomes clear. But not without frustration; the task is invariably simple, though.
From the reviews of the first edition:
"This book is a nice exercise-based introduction to Maple with applications in different fields of environmental sciences. From the first steps to quite sophisticated techniques and worksheet handling, the reader can learn the most important features of Maple through solving practical problems. ... I can warmly recommend the book to everyone who would like to learn and use Maple as a tool in the everyday work. The applications and examples make it especially useful for applied study, research or practical work in life science." (Janos Karsai, Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum, Vol. 69, 2003)
"This is a kind of cookbook on how to use Maple ... and on how this most useful language can be used in a specific area of environmental sciences. It is a very practical book, full of worked examples, exercises and lots of references to other books, journals and websites. ... The book is very clearly written, nicely presented and well illustrated. ... it is a must for ... readers who specialize in the author's specific field of environmental sciences." (R. Hauspie, International Journal of Environment and Pollution, Vol. 18 (4), 2002)