I'm trying to do a basic 2D wave equation PDE in mathematica (version 11). I have a set of equations

Edit: I have infact made sure I cleared u


wave2deqs = {
D[u[t, x, y], t, t] - Laplacian[u[t, x, y] , {x, y}] == 0, 
u[0, x, y] == Exp[-((x - 1)^2 + (y - 1)^2)],
D[u[0, x, y], t] == 0}

This works fine except for

D[u[0, x, y], t] == 0

evaluates to 'True', and then when I put this into

wave2d = NDSolveValue[wave2deqs, u, {t, 0, 1}, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1} ]

I naturally get an error that eqlist is not a list of equations.

So my question is, why would

D[u[0, x, y], t] == 0

even evaluate to a boolean rather than being another equation?

I followed this examples for reference: https://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/new-in-10/pdes-and-finite-elements/solve-a-wave-equation-in-2d.html which is in mathematica 10, but seems ridiculous that this wouldn't work.

  • $\begingroup$ You probably have lingering definitions. Try Clear[u] followed by NDSolveValue again. $\endgroup$
    – Carl Woll
    Apr 12, 2017 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ I definitely do this, I just didn't include it here. Sorry, I'll add it above. Thanks. Edit: That wasn't the issue btw. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2017 at 21:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You're right. The problem is u[0,x,y] doesn't have t, so the derivative is 0. Perhaps Derivative[1,0,0][u][0,x,y] == 0 would work better. $\endgroup$
    – Carl Woll
    Apr 12, 2017 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


There is no way that D[u[0,x,y],t]==0 is not true. You are asking Mathematica to calculate the derivative of an expression of a parameter that the expression does not contain. u[0,x,y] is such an expression - no t involved. So the derivative is quite naturally and correctly equal to zero.

What you need to do is to tell Mathematica that you like to calculate the (first) derivative of u of its first parameter and that that derivative shall be zero.

Derivative[1, 0, 0][u][0, x, y] == 0

This is, by the way, the method used on the website you refer to.

  • $\begingroup$ I figured something like this would probably be the problem. I have seldom seen this notation for a derivative though. Thanks, I'll have to read up on the difference between D[...] and Derivative[]. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2017 at 21:51

Another way is, first take derivative w.r.t t using D[u[t, x, y], t] then replace the variable t by a specific value using /.value.

Thus the derivative condition can be describe alternatively like this,

(D[u[t, x, y], t] /. t -> 0) == 0

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