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Courses Which instrument would be a better tool for advanced physics courses?

  1. Mar 2, 2012 #1
    This question may be in the wrong section and quite irrelevant for many of you. Anyway, I need to buy a new calculator for my linear algebra course to deal with matrices and that stuff... which would you recommed I buy between the TI INSPIRE CX - CAS and the TI 89 TITANIUM? These are the ones my professor recommends but IDK which of these will be a better... investment for future courses (engineering physics) (they both cost the same in my country, around 200 us dollars) since I wouldn't want to buy one only for this course and then have to buy another one.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2012 #2
    In my experience, get the cheapest one possible. Anything that requires computation in upper level courses does not require an advanced calculator.
     
  4. Mar 2, 2012 #3

    chiro

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    On top of this, it has been my experience that if a complex calculation or visualization of results is needed, then a computer package is often preferred in place of a handheld calculator device.
     
  5. Mar 2, 2012 #4
    Calculators that are capable of symbolic calculation (integration, etc.) carry a hefty price premium. These days it doesn't make any sense to pay that premium unless you need to have those functions in a small portable package.

    Really, just buy a high-end non-graphing calculator like the Sharp EL-516 or Casio fx-991ES for under $20.
    http://edu.casio.com/products/ntd/fx991es/
    http://www.sharpusa.com/forhome/homeoffice/calculators/elw516b.aspx

    Both can do just about any non-symbolic task a calculator needs to do.

    Anything they can't do, use wxMaxima (it is free).
    http://maxima.sourceforge.net/download.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxima_(software [Broken])
    This will be sufficient to check your Linear Algebra homework.

    Later, if you are doing serious numerical computation, you can use something like Octave (similar to Matlab).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Mar 2, 2012 #5
    I'd go with CAS CX. There seems to be a lot of stubborn "pencil and paper or matlab, no in between" on these forums.

    I have a CAS CX, and it's main utility is just to check if I'm wrong, or to make a calculation without access to a computer easier. I'm not always in front of mathematica or matlab, so I need to use a calculator to check if an integral is correct. And the utility and simplicity of the input of the CAS CX is unrivaled.

    I sold my 89 Titanium and bought the CAS CX when it came out... best purchase I've made as a physics student.
     
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