Using the IPython Notebook as Lab Notebook

Juergen Hasch

Audience level:


Almost every engineer or scientist uses a lab notebook to take notes, scribble first design ideas or make calculations. The IPython notebook enables the combination of text, math, interactive code and graphics in a common document.This makes it an ideal platform as an extension of the traditional lab notebook, when calculations get more extensive or if results need to be stored electronically.


The lab notebook is an indespensible tool for every scientist or engineer to take notes, scribble down first design ideas and do calculations.

When trying to adopt this concept to the electronic world, other tools lack what makes the IPython notebook outstanding: The integration of text, math, interactive code and graphics in a document, coupled with the openness and strong background of a modern programming language like Python.

This talk will describe how a workflow using the IPython notebook can look like. It will introduce extensions made for IPython to significantly improve this workflow like: * using physical units in calculations * code folding in cells * adding Python code in markdown to allow displaying computation results or equation numbering * dragging and dropping images into the notebook * using the system clipboard to copy and paste single or multiple cells

Examples will show the real-world use of the IPython notebook as an electronic lab notebook.