Apple offers this handy summary of why the Mac is a great tool for scientists.

UNIX, Windows, MacOS, X11

One system for all your work.

Run custom scripts, open source, and commercial scientific software alongside your favorite productivity applications such as MS Office — all on your Mac. It’s the ideal platform for complex scientific research as well as your day-to-day and online activities.

Stable. Reliable. Intuitive.

The Mac runs Mac OS X, the world’s most advanced OS. It’s UNIX under the hood so your have fewer technology headaches, it’s easy to operate and easy to administer.  Mac provides a stable, tightly integrated single-vendor solution that gives you the freedom to focus on science instead of cumbersome technology issues and chronic PC issues such as spyware and viruses.

Intel Core 2 Duo & Intel Xeon

Better performance.

Inside it’s Intel – bringing faster processing speeds, and better compatibility. The Mac delivers 64-bit power in one universal OS. And with Multicore Intel processors scientists can get things done faster – from basic to high performance computing.

Smoothly compatible.

Macs play well with PCs and vice versa. The Mac uses the latest industry-standard technologies for connecting to peripherals and networks. So, you can easily share files – including MS Office documents – with your PC counterparts, connect to a common PC network, and use the same peripherals (e.g. printer, scanner, digital camera) without a problem.

The Mac runs Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.

Run all the applications you need. With the Intel-based Mac systems, you can now run any Windows or Linux applications you need using virtualization applications such as Parallels and VMWare Fusion. And for those times when you want to boot directly in Windows, there’s Boot Camp, which is included with every new Mac running Mac OS X Leopard.

Power of UNIX. Simplicity of the Mac.

Beneath the surface of Mac OS X lies an industrial-strength UNIX foundation built with a Mach 3.0 microkernal and FreeBSD services. Command-line users will feel right at home, while low-tech scientists will enjoy the intuitive and easy-to-use user interface.

Collaboration at your fingertips.

Interact with colleagues next door or halfway around the world with iChat AV. Start a videoconference with up to three others or audio conference with up to ten participants with just a click of the mouse.

iLife Box

Podcast your science.

Broadcast your lectures and research content the iPod way by creating your own podcasts. The podcasting studio in GarageBand that comes with the iLife suite of creative applications makes it simple (and fun).

iWork Box

Publish and present in style.

Impress and influence your audience by adding a professional and creative touch to your presentations. Apple’s multi-media tools in iLife and iWork make it easy to instill a lasting impression.

Xcode Icon

Program in any language.

Mac OS X includes a free Integrated Developer Environment (IDE) complete with all the tools and libraries to allow you to program in your favorite programming language, including — Java, Perl, C/C++, Cocoa, Ruby, Python, LISP, and many more.

The Mac experience is like no other.

Only on a Mac do you find seamless integration of hardware and software. That’s because only with a Mac do you get an OS built by the same people who build the computer it runs on. Enjoy the hand-in-glove fit from the moment you plug your Mac in — just turn it on and you’re ready to go.