by Dan Peirce B.Sc. -- reformated here July 21, 2013 from my Dokuwiki site at danpeirce.net46.net/dokuwiki/
IPython is a feature rich interactive shell for python. It was created by a physicist with scientific computing in mind.
The creator of IPython gives a talk in which he explains why it was created for scientific computing.
Also see http://ipython.org/ipython-doc/stable/interactive/tutorial.html for a tutorial. And
pylab is "a matplotlib-based Python evnironment"