I ran into this while doing some work today:

enter image description here

It's the exact same syntax - and I expected that Mathematica would be more likely to be able to solve it, since oftentimes Wolfram|Alpha doesn't have all the functions of Wolfram Language. So why did this happen, and how can I make Mathematica solve it when, say, I'm offline and don't have access to Wolfram|Alpha queries?

I'm running Mathematica 10 on CentOS 6.

  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to come up with a more descriptive title.. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2015 at 23:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ W|A is assuming a space between h and w, whereas Mathematica does not. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2015 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ Mathematica syntax is not correct. You need to put space (or *) between h and w. $\endgroup$
    – halmir
    Jan 30, 2015 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


Wolfram|Alpha is more willing to change the input because the input is generally natural language. Alpha has interpreted hw has two single-letter symbols, h and w. Mathematica has interpreted hw as a single two-letter symbol. Because you asked Mathematica to solve for h and h does not appear in the expression, there is no solution. Adding a space tells Mathematica there are two symbols there and makes the thing work:

enter image description here


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