3.0 Scientific Python#

Estimated time to complete this notebook: 5 minutes

Why is Python so popular for research work?

Historically, FORTRAN was the most popular “language of technical computing”. Later, MATLAB was created with strong built-in support for efficient numerical analysis with matrices (the mat in MATLAB is for Matrix, not Maths), and plotting.

Early Python users developed three critical libraries, to match the power of MATLAB for scientific work:

By combining a plotting library, a matrix maths library, and an easy-to-use interface allowing live plotting commands in a persistent environment, the powerful capabilities of MATLAB were matched by a free and open toolchain.

Further tools such as pandas and scipy are built on, extend, or utilise these libraries. In this module we will use these libraries to deal with data of the type that might be used in a research project.