This book is based on an undergraduate course taught at the University of Potsdam in Germany (http://uni-potsdam.de), as was also the case with its sister book
MATLAB Recipes for Earth Sciences–3rd Edition
(Trauth 2010). The objective of this course was to guide students through the typical progression of a scientific project. Such projects usually start with a search of the relevant literature in order to review and rank published books and journal articles, to extract information (as text, data, maps, or graphs), and to search, process and visualize data, compiling the results and presenting them as posters, abstracts and oral presentations (talks). The course was first held for second-year students in earth sciences during the 2010–11 winter semester, and then repeated in the following summer semester. The original plan was to hold the course in a computer pool with fifteen workstations. However, an unexpectedly large number of students enrolled for the first presentation, which had more than sixty participants. This led to the course being held in a lecture hall with a projector, a microphone, and a speaker system. There was also a table for the instructor’s laptop and equipment, and wireless access to the Internet; the students used their own private laptops.