Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe
Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down‑to‑earth history shows that calculus is not abo ...more
"Everything becomes simpler at infinity."
I have a habit of seeing a book, realising it's on a subject I don't know much about, and finding myself overcome with a strong desire, a need even, to read the book. That was the case with Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe. I knew nothing about Calculus. The only math I took in school was Algebra and Geometry and though I loved both of them, I can't remember diddly-squat about them. As for Calculus? Never learned it ...more
(view spoiler)[ [Prefatory apology: my comments below are a bit rushed since I’m off for spinal surgery. As the great Oates said, “I may be some time.” I do hope not as long as he.] (hide spoiler)]
Steven Strogatz seems conflicted. He presents mathematical calculus as a description of reality and within a paragraph or two recants and calls it a useful fiction. He claims that it reveals the hidden structure of the universe; yet he admits that its fundamental presumptions co ...more
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever had the utmost pleasure to read. How I wish Steven Strogatz had been my calc teacher. There are authors who let you know that they are smart and there are authors who write with a definite intention to make the readers smart. Strogatz falls into the latter category. He will infuse you with such a love for math, no matter what level of math you have reached in your studies.
Strogatz main message is that calculus extends far beyond wh ...more
In Infinite Powers,Dr. Steven H. Strogatz teaches us how to use our microwaves to calculate the speed of light. I’m not kidding. That’s all the recommendation this book needs. Highly Recommended.
Review cross-posted at Primmlife.com
When I tell people that I’m an engineer, my wife likes to follow up that comment with, “He does math all day long.” A common response is, “Oh, you must really like math. I didn’t enjoy it in [insert level of schooling here].” To keep the conversation ...more
Strogatz takes the same approach with his earlier pop science book, The Joy of x, i. ...more
Steven Strogatz can obviously write a book about m ...more
The book starts with famous (in narrow circles of math fans) quip by Richard Feynman that “Calculus is the language God talks.” That was said to the writer Herman Wouk ...more
Calculus is widely perceived as important part of science in understanding basic laws of physics. But it also has important applications in advanced physics; relativity and quantum mechanics, cosmology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, medicine, geology, ecology and in everyday life. In this book, the author discusses calculus as catch-as-catch-can story in an historical context without giving some ideas of how calculus helped physics to evolve. This is ...more
So I duck and dive between the paper and my notes from my MSc thesis from at least fifteen years ago and I work out the answer to lesser problems and I write out my questions for my sherpa and I also need to be thinking math the whole time; ...more
It is such a pleasure to listen to a mathematician who loves what he's doing. Strogatz brings across the enthusiasm about his topic in a lively, interesting and above all very digestible way. A clear prose and many intuitively accessible examples make this book about the history of calculus approachable to laypersons.
I listened to it on audio - which is admittedly not the best way to consume formulas, even though the narrator did an excellent job - and with 2 exceptions of longer lines ...more
Wow! I wish I had had this book back in college 50+ years ago. Who knew calculus could be this interesting to read about. I only endured my class with a boring professor. No joy then, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. All the applications of calculus through the years were fascinating. Amazing stories about the scientists and mathematicians. Very easy to read and understand. I only needed to back up to reread a few paragraphs.
By weaving exam ...more
Steven Strogatz proceeds in (sort of) chronological order, defining calculus not as what you learn in school but any technique that breaks things apart into infinitesimal pieces and puts them back together aga ...more
He does two things which the non-math person should appreciate. First, he presents a good history of the development of thinking about advanced math. From Xeno's paradox (which stipulates it is impossible to get any ...more
When I was in high school -- many, many years ago -- I was really good at math, so when I got to college I thought I would major in math. However, after two semesters of calculus I changed my mind. I didn't flunk. Got Bs both semesters. Because I was able to regurgitate the calculations correctly. But I didn't really understand. I didn't get it in my soul the way I understood algebra. So I changed to French, an easy major.
My professor was really smart. He had worked at NASA during ...more
The book tells the story of how the central ideas from calculus developed; beginning with Archimedes who approximated the surface area of a circle by covering it with an infinite series of smaller and smaller triangles; and ending with GPS and CT scanners.
Strogatz retelling revolves around the "Infinity principle" ...more
That gravitational wave was the faintest whisper ever heard. That soft little wave had been headed our way from ...more
I usually reserve 5-star ratings for books that are, say, ecstatic---this book is not that. But I must appreciate the effort put into writing such a remarkably accessible book to general readers about math. It could easily have been boring or forbidding. Strogatz got it to work.
As someone who uses calculus regularly for work, I'm unlikely to be in the target audience. Most people I know who work in a field professionally find it difficult to pick up a popular science book in a related field. B...more
Calculus is just not a set of mathematical tricks we use to calculate stuff. The unfolding of proofs, the building on concepts and the progression of the logics of ch ...more
|Science and Inquiry: October 2021 - Infinite Powers||19||98||Nov 21, 2021 09:51PM|
|Non Fiction Book ...: Feb/March 2021 - Infinite Powers||23||56||Mar 27, 2021 12:18AM|
|Joyce's Reading Log: Infinite Powers by Steven Strogatz||1||2||Feb 19, 2021 08:03PM|
|Science Book Club: Infinite Powers||3||25||Jun 29, 2019 07:54AM|
Goodreads is hiring!
Learn more »