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Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All Around Us
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Book of the Month Discussion > Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All Around Us

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message 1: by Bill, Moderator (new)

Bill Burris (wburris) | 248 comments Mod
Discussion for our Nov 2017 book: Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All Around Us


message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Preusser | 3 comments I don't think I have ever thought about this but I'm game and will dip my toe in the water. A few things come to mind. First off Archimedes was dipping his toe in the calculus water almost 2000 years before Newton in trying to calculate pi - which of course in everyday life shows up In circular objects where area and circumference pertain. Unfortunately when the library in Alexandria burned the impetus for spreading this way of thinking virtually disappeared. One wonders where technology would be today had we not lost those 2000 years.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 01, 2017 04:37PM) (new)

Started a little early.

I'd recently read a couple of books that went into the development of calculus, and the competition between Newton and Leibniz. They were narrative based, light on formulas. This made me want to get back into the meat of things I used to know, but lost from lack of use.

I'm a couple of chapters in, but I'm not sure if this is the right book. The author seems to be in a hurry, introducing a lot of things we encounter in everyday life that can be quantified by calculus, but just presenting formulas fully formed without any explanation. For example, in the first chapter he talks about sleep cycles. Just when it was getting interesting, he moves on to his next example, the path of water particles from a shower head. I'd like it a lot more if he spent some time developing the "why" of the examples he uses.

Suspending judgement for now and reading on!

I highly recommend the books I mentioned earlier. Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World
The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Lost me a few times along the way, but I enjoyed it overall. The framework is a little clunky and artificial, "My wife and I went to the movies, which made me think of ... then we took the subway, which made me think of ...," but I think that's a nitpick on my part. The ideas were mostly interesting. The details I was missing at first are in the appendices. I generally skip appendices in a book, but these were worth the trouble.

I gave it 4 stars.


Vidya (vidyabhandary) | 77 comments I enjoyed the book. While perhaps it may seem a bit contrived to think of everyday matters in terms of calculus - since that was the premise of the book it did not bother me much.

I did not look at the math part in detail. I would prefer to do that with a proper calculus book and not being in the field and with my college calculus looooong way back - it was not feasible ! :)

However I do wish calculus was taught this way. With at least some glimpse of where it is used and can be used.

Perhaps it is only my personal experience but my calculus class was terrible. Just a set of problems and how to solve it. I did not know why this esoteric branch of mathematics was needed and why I had to learn it for a long long time ...... until I researched a bit and asked around. Till then I just resented the class !!!

It is a wonder I still retain interest in the subject itself !!! :)


message 6: by Bill, Moderator (new)

Bill Burris (wburris) | 248 comments Mod
I haven't got going on this book yet.

In the early 80s, I took some math classes at the University where I worked as a technician. I found that getting extra textbooks that were written for engineers helped, because they had more real world examples that the math department books didn't have.


Vidya (vidyabhandary) | 77 comments That makes sense. It did not occur to me then.

These were my first year undergrad classes and I was suddenly faced with Statistics, Calculus and Advanced Trigonometry.

Unfortunately I did not handle the first 2 months with any kind of grace !!! It took time to get my footing.

Any of those textbooks you read at that time good for general reading on calculus or they are essentially textbooks for learning calculus ?


message 8: by Bill, Moderator (new)

Bill Burris (wburris) | 248 comments Mod
I was mainly thinking of Elementary Applied Partial Differential Equations: With Fourier Series And Boundary Value Problems when I made that comment. It was a third year course on Boundary Value problems that I was struggling with at the time. I never did finish that class and never took any more courses after that.

The idea of putting a candle under the corner of a steel plate and calculating what the temperature would be over time at any point on the plate helped me get a better understanding of what partial differential equations were about.


message 9: by Bill, Moderator (new)

Bill Burris (wburris) | 248 comments Mod
I have always found books on statics and dynamics interesting. The one I have is Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics.

Another interesting book is Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits.

I would really like to learn the contents of Advanced Engineering Mathematics, but I probably will never get around to it.


Vidya (vidyabhandary) | 77 comments Perhaps but adding books to the TBR pile is joy by itself !
Thank you for the recommendations. They all look interesting.


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