Mathematical MacTutor


The Mathematical MacTutor system consists of more than 100 HyperCard stacks amounting to about 18 Mb and about 2000 cards. It runs on any of the range of Apple Macintosh computers, but not, alas, on PC's.

It is being used in many universities and colleges, both in the UK and abroad and also in many secondary schools. It won the 1992 Partnership Trust prize for innovation in Mathematics teaching.

It has continued to be developed since and won the prize for the best Mathematical Software in the European Academic Software Awards for 1994.

In August 1995, it won an Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Science Award sponsored by the Department of Energy of the United States of America. You can see the presentation which won this award:
Using a computer to visualise change in biological organisms.

MacTutor covers a wide range of mathematical topics, though its contents have been biased by the interests and enthusiasms of its authors. We have concentrated on areas where we think that the computer, and particularly the superb graphics capabilities of the Apple Macintosh, can give insights not available in other ways. Thus, apart from the Calculus topics that one would expect to find in any mathematical software, MacTutor is particularly strong in Geometry, Algebra (and in particular, Group Theory), Graph Theory, Number Theory and the History of Mathematics. It has some interesting stacks on Statistics, Matrices and Complex Analysis.

The History of Mathematics on the World Wide Web is one part of the system. As part of the MacTutor system it is integrated into the other stacks, so that one can cross-reference the biographies from the mathematical stacks and can go from the biographies of mathematicians to stacks which are connected with the mathematics that these people were responsible for.

MacTutor is not designed to replace any of the conventional modes of teaching, but to supplement them with a system that will reinforce the existing course work. Innovative features of the system provide the opportunity to experiment in mathematics with the chores of lengthy calculation and formal analysis removed. The fact that no knowledge of programming is required means that the mathematical ideas are neither lost nor obscured by other difficulties. MacTutor is a laboratory for conducting mathematical experiments.

Mathematical MacTutor is available for sale at (Pounds)250 (plus VAT for people from the UK).
A MacTutor demo (as a binary self-extracting archive, about 600K) can be obtained by anonymous ftp from:
gregory.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk in the sub-directory /pub
or you can contact us.
Also contact us for a booklet about the system and a booklet of projects which show how we have used the system in our university teaching.

John O'Connor and Edmund F Robertson
School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences
University of St Andrews
St Andrews Fife KY16 9SS
Scotland

joc@st-andrews.ac.uk and efr@st-andrews.ac.uk


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JOC/EFR November 2000

The URL of this page is:

School_of_Mathematics_and_Statistics
University_of_St_Andrews,_Scotland
http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/Miscellaneous/Mathematical_MacTutor.html