Wolfram Alpha, a computational engine that answers fact-based queries, is a fascinating tool that many people are aware of, but don't use its full capabilities. The following Wolfram Alpha shortcuts will help you frame your queries more efficiently and retrieve hyper-appropriate results.

### Math problems

You can do basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc) with Wolfram Alpha, but you can also use it to compute fractions, decimals ("pi to 1000 digits"), or convert a decimal number to another base. Here's a few more:

- Plot a function: plot x^3 - 6x^2 + 4x + 12
- Factor a polynomial: factor 2x^5 - 19x^4 + 58x^3 - 67x^2 + 56x - 48
- Solve an ordinary differential equation: y'' + y = 0
- Minimize or maximize a function: maximize x(1-x)e^x
- Generate a Venn diagram: (complement S) intersect (A union B)

### Astronomy

Whether you're an astronomy buff or just looking to learn a few new facts about the universe, Wolfram Alpha does the job. You can use Wolfram Alpha to generate a star chart; you can append your local area on that command (i.e., "san francisco star chart") to make it even more personal.

- Find out when the next solar eclipse is scheduled.
- Compute locations and other properties of a comet, for example, Halley's Comet.
- Compare several stars, such as alpha Centauri A, beta Centauri and gamma Centauri.
- Find the property of a certain galaxy: How far is NGC 4603 from Earth?
- Get information on a satellite (International Space Station), an observatory (Greenwich Observatory, or a space probe (Voyager 1).

### Life Sciences

Get information about dinosaurs, animal species, or molecular biology. More tricks:

- Compare multiple species and their characteristics, for example: puma, lion, red fox.
- Learn more about a specific kind of dinosaur—how about a triceratops?
- Analyze a protein, for instance, myoglobin.

### Technology

Communications technology, photography, barcodes, and more.

- Find out what the carbon footprint of coal is.
- Get information about a structure, for example, the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Generate a barcode corresponding to a specific ISBN number, for example, ISBN 1-5795-5008-8.
- Compute subject magnification: subject magnification 10m.
- Translate a string of text into Morse code, i.e., Morse code "Wolfram Alpha."

### Finance

Wolfram Alpha offers many useful financial functions and calculations so you can get quick answers.

- Get current data about any stock on the market, for example, General Electric. You can also compare several stocks at the same time: MSFT, AAPL, GOOG.
- Calculate your mortgage: mortgage $150,000, 6.5%, 30 years.
- Compare currencies: 1300 Mexican pesos / 20,000 Russian rubles.
- Figure out tax deductions, for example, what are the typical deductions on $2.5 million?
- Find the historical value of a unit of money: 10,000 current dollars in 1910.

### Music

Learn more about the components that make up your favorite musical composition.

- Identify an interval, i.e., major seventh.
- Get information about a specific chord: C major 7th chord.
- Learn more about a scale, say, the A minor scale.
- Research a specific song: Who wrote Stairway to Heaven?.

### Sports and games

Sports, while definitely emotionally fulfilling, also offer a lot of very scientific facts and statistics, many of which you can find on Wolfram Alpha.

- Compare baseball teams: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox.
- Compare statistics for different teams, like passing touchdowns for both the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.
- Find Olympics information, such as How many medals has Michael Phelps won?, background research on Olympic gold medals.
- Get a little help with your poker game: probability 3 queens 2 jacks.

### Geography

Wolfram Alpha is a fantastic source for stats, especially geography.

- Generate a world map for any given statistic, for example, life expectancy.
- Locate something using longitude and latitude: 55 deg 45' N, 37 deg 37' E.
- Find an IP address, even yours: Where am I?.
- Compare several cities' demographics: New York, London, Tokyo.
- Get information on tides for a specific location, i.e., tides Seattle.
- Compare the heights of two different mountains: height Mt Timpanogos / Mt McKinley.
- Research a park, monument, or historical site of interest: Lincoln Memorial.

### People and history

Whether you're looking for information on a historical person of interest or just researching your family tree, Wolfram Alpha is a good resource.

- Figure out a family relationship, for instance, Lincoln Memorial.
- Compare several names—Elizabeth, Rebecca and Jennifer—and find out what they mean.
- Get the latest salary information on a variety of professions at the same time: salary of a mathematician, physicist, and chemist.
- Build your own historical timeline: the founding of Carthage, Trojan War.
- Get the latest information on current political leaders, for example, the President of Argentina.

### Cultural events

Wolfram Alpha is a wonderful resource for stats on pretty much anything you can think of and cultural information is definitely not an exception.

- Get information about a book (The Grapes of Wrath), or compare two books (On the Road, Naked Lunch) to see their differences and similarities.
- Find what you need to know about a specific movie (Goodfellas).
- Wolfram Alpha also offers information about fictional characters, such as Gandalf the Grey or Snoopy.
- Need to research the Oscars? Ask a question, like Oscar for best actress 1958, and Wolfram Alpha will find the answer.