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Opera widgets for the math and science whiz

The Opera browser is filled with some neat widgets. And some of the best of those widgets are designed specifically for those who love math and science.

I really like Opera (Windows | Mac) widgets. They all offer something unique. But I especially like the browser's science and math widgets.

If you're someone who just can't get enough of planets, you love building mathematical graphs, or you enjoy science, these widgets are for you.

Science widgets

Astronomy Picture of the Day Each day, when you load Astronomy Picture of the Day, it displays a picture it gets from NASA. When you click on that image, it gives you an in-depth description of what's being depicted and why it's important. I found it to be extremely informative. Practically anyone who likes astronomy should be pleased with Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Astronomy Picture of the Day gives you some beautiful images. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Chinese Abacus If you want to get some addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division work done, look no further than than the Chinese Abacus widget. Much like the real thing, you can move the blocks up and down to keep count. The abacus will show a tally at the bottom to help you.

Before you start using it, beware that the Chinese Abacus widget requires some knowledge of the abacus to get it to work. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it makes performing basic math functions quite simple.

The Chinese Abacus widget is a really cool app. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Functions 3D Functions 3D isn't for the novice mathematician. The widget lets you create a 3D structure based on a mathematical equation that you devise.

Once you set the X, Y, and Z boundaries, you'll create an equation to develop the figure you want to depict. You can create simple archways or complex statues by changing the equation to fit your needs. Functions 3D is one of the more powerful Opera widgets I've ever used. It's also one of the most difficult to understand.

Functions 3D
Functions 3D helps you create 3D models with your equations. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Math Workpad Math Workpad is a neat utility that not only lets you evaluate mathematical expressions, it also provides you with a vector graph to see the result of an equation.

Once you load Math Workpad, you can start defining different functions or letters. You can then use those functions and letters to create a mathematical equation that the widget will solve for you. I found that all of the equations I created were solved quickly and accurately. It's perfect for students in math classes or the geek who wants to create some vector 3D graphs with their mathematical prowess.

Math Workpad
Create and solve your own equations with Math Workpad. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

PlanetWerks 2 PlanetWerks 2 is a great way to learn a little something about the solar system. When you download the widget, it displays the sun and all the planets orbiting it. You can zoom in on different planets and adjust your tilt to see better. If you want to learn about individual planets in the solar system, you need only to click on one of the celestial bodies, and the widget will provide information, including the object's size relative to Earth, how long its orbit is, and more.

PlanetWerks 2
PlanetWerks 2 teaches you about the solar system. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Scientific Calculator The Scientific Calculator widget is a must-have for any science or math whiz. The app provides a slew of functions to satisfy your mathematical needs. It even has seven programmable memory buttons. I used it to perform some basic operations and was impressed. It completed equations in just a few seconds. It was like having a real calculator with me.

Scientific Calculator
Scientific Calculator is like the real thing. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Unit Converter Unit Converter is a handy widget to have when you want to quickly switch between different units. True to the science theme, the app includes unit conversions for velocity, volume, pressure, and the basics, like area and temperature. It's a simple widget that you won't always use, but you'll be happy you have it, when you want to convert some scientific measurements.

Unit Converter
Unit Converter gives you all the conversions you need. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Chinese Abacus: The Chinese Abacus widget is designed well, and it's ideal for quickly solving mathematical equations.

2. Scientific Calculator: It's like having the real thing in front of you.

3. PlanetWerks 2: Who doesn't want to learn about the solar system?