Pro Python remarks to math ed folks (pointers)

Kirby Urner urner at alumni.princeton.edu
Tue Aug 24 17:03:34 CEST 1999


"Darrell" <news at dorb.com> wrote:

>Installed your stuff and changed a few things to get it to work.
>Had to add this method too Vector.
>   def display(self):
>       print self.data

That's cool.

I've just been going:

from vector import Vector
v = Vector(quad=(1,0,0,0))
print v.data
(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0)

You have xyz=3-tuple, quad=4-tuple and polar=3-tuple as your
three input options.  When you rotate, you go:

v.rotate((0,0,30)) # 30 degrees around Z axis

or

v.rotate((10,0,0,0)) # 10 degrees around the A axis

This 'quad' stuff (with 4-tuples) is the most unusual and
exotic and would stump any classroom math teacher for a few
minutes because it's unfamiliar and not taught as a normal
part of any curriculum.  But that doesn't keep "quadrays"
from being useful and fun.  The polyhedra I'm interested in
are very easily constructed using these non-traditional 
basis vectors, to the 4 corners of a regular tetrahedron
from an origin at (0,0,0,0) -- tetrahedron's center.

Note that ps module has lots of test scripts and does the
importing it needs, i.e.

import ps
ps.testprog2()

will write out some files (either POVray, VRML or both).

>Also changed some of the hardcoded paths.

Yes, ps has some of those.  Good point.

>Then installed a VRML viewer.
>I'm digging around for a POV viewer still.

www.povray.org is where to get Povray.  It's really a rendering
process, computational in nature, not just viewing, i.e. all
the Python supplies is ASCII text, with Povray has to munch
and crunch (same with VRML of course).

>Wow, very cool.
>

Thanks for the positive feedback.

>I have a teenager who hates math, maybe this would be useful.

I sure think there's a lot of potential here, especially when
you feel fluent enough to start doing art projects with 
polyhedra.  My website has lots of Povray graphics I did 
using this Python or earlier Java or Xbase incarnations of
this application.

Examples: 
http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/ocn/oop6.html
http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/ocn/oop5.html

Animated GIFs: http://www.inetarena.com/~pdx4d/ocn/xtals101.html

Kirby





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