Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us

Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us

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by Oscar E. Fernandez
     
 

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Calculus. For some of us, the word conjures up memories of ten-pound textbooks and visions of tedious abstract equations. And yet, in reality, calculus is fun, accessible, and surrounds us everywhere we go. In Everyday Calculus, Oscar Fernandez shows us how to see the math in our coffee, on the highway, and even in the night sky.

Fernandez uses our

Overview

Calculus. For some of us, the word conjures up memories of ten-pound textbooks and visions of tedious abstract equations. And yet, in reality, calculus is fun, accessible, and surrounds us everywhere we go. In Everyday Calculus, Oscar Fernandez shows us how to see the math in our coffee, on the highway, and even in the night sky.

Fernandez uses our everyday experiences to skillfully reveal the hidden calculus behind a typical day's events. He guides us through how math naturally emerges from simple observations--how hot coffee cools down, for example--and in discussions of over fifty familiar events and activities. Fernandez demonstrates that calculus can be used to explore practically any aspect of our lives, including the most effective number of hours to sleep and the fastest route to get to work. He also shows that calculus can be both useful--determining which seat at the theater leads to the best viewing experience, for instance--and fascinating--exploring topics such as time travel and the age of the universe. Throughout, Fernandez presents straightforward concepts, and no prior mathematical knowledge is required. For advanced math fans, the mathematical derivations are included in the appendixes.

Whether you're new to mathematics or already a curious math enthusiast, Everyday Calculus invites you to spend a day discovering the calculus all around you. The book will convince even die-hard skeptics to view this area of math in a whole new way.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/03/2014
For every befuddled math student who’s ever sat in class and thought, “When am I ever going to use this?” Fernandez, assistant professor of mathematics at Wellesley College, gleefully reveals the truth: the world really does run on math. He takes a day-in-the-life approach to his subject: getting out of bed introduces trigonometry and how it can be used to describe and predict sleep cycles, while water running from a faucet allows him to address gravity and how its influence shapes motion into parabolic curves. The morning news leads to derivatives and how they can chart unemployment rates and population growth. A stray thought during a morning meeting stirs up the calculus of catching cold. Whether describing how biology uses math to design more efficient organs and body structures or the best way to figure out when to overhaul a subway car, Fernandez keeps the tone light, as entertaining as it is informative. The book will speak most strongly to readers with some experience in trigonometry and basic calculus, but it’s also accessible to those willing to put in a little extra effort. Either way, Fernandez’s witty, delightful approach makes for a winning introduction to the wonderland of math behind the scenes of everyday life. Illus. (May)
From the Publisher

One of American Association for the Advancement of Science's Books for General Audiences and Young Adults 2014

"For every befuddled math student who's ever sat in class and thought, 'When am I ever going to use this?' Fernandez, assistant professor of mathematics at Wellesley College, gleefully reveals the truth: the world really does run on math. . . . Whether describing how biology uses math to design more efficient organs and body structures or the best way to figure out when to overhaul a subway car, Fernandez keeps the tone light, as entertaining as it is informative. The book will speak most strongly to readers with some experience in trigonometry and basic calculus, but it's also accessible to those willing to put in a little extra effort. Either way, Fernandez's witty, delightful approach makes for a winning introduction to the wonderland of math behind the scenes of everyday life."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The author earnestly and excitedly seeks to make the principles of calculus near and natural, without the intimidation of a five-pound textbook dense with equations. . . . Fernandez invites the reader along on this work day and telegraphs an enthusiasm for seeing calculus, with hints of differential equations, presented to him. This excitement will communicate itself to the math enthusiast becoming acquainted with calculus through the author's style, which is both lively and confident."--Tom Schulte, MAA Reviews

"Written in a bright conversational tone, this book wonderfully integrates calculus into everyday life."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist, The Guardian

"Professor Fernandez is a delightfully quirky writer and his book Everyday Calculus is lighthearted and compelling, connecting mathematics to daily life. . . . Everyday Calculus will not only be found to be understandable by non-mathematicians but will also be found to be quite entertaining. Indeed, not everyone considers the calculus going on inside Tandoori ovens, and they should."--Robert Schaefer, New York Journal of Books

"Written in a bright conversational tone, this book wonderfully integrates calculus into everyday life."--GrrrlScientist

"[T]he book is perfect for a reader who really wants to know what mathematics are governing our lives and who wants to learn and understand or polish up his rusty knowledge of these mathematics."--A. Bultheel, European Mathematical Society

"Everyday Calculus is a triumph in the pursuit of the lofty goal of comprehending the world. Fernandez has touched upon a sensitive nerve, not just because mathematics makes most people cringe, but because the subject has allowed the passage of great things from some of the greatest minds ever to wander within the twentieth century. Oscar Fernandez is as bold as Alfred S. Posementier in his quest to deliver mathematical thinking as nature's gift to the thinking person."--D. Wayne Dworsky, San Francisco Book Review

"Fernandez is especially effective when linking together seemingly disparate activities for which the underlying mathematical basis is identical. As the subtitle of the book suggests, the thrust is more one of 'discovering the hidden math all around us' rather than showing 'how mathematics is used,' which provides an honest and very pleasurable journey."--Choice

"The book offers in clear and concise fashion much of the material found in a traditional calculus textbook, but presents it beginning with a real world observation and then developing the mathematics needed to understand the observation."--AAAS

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691157559
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/03/2015
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
503,879
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Oscar E. Fernandez is assistant professor of mathematics at Wellesley College.

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Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
FRINGEINDEPENEDENTREVIEW More than 1 year ago
Are you new to calculus, studying calculus or a few years since you have seen it? If you are, then this book is for you. Author Oscar E. Fernandez , has written an outstanding book that answers the question: When am I ever going to use Calculus. The author begins by convincing you that functions are not abstract mathematical constructs. Next, he shows you that through the courtesy of Sir. Isaac Newton, that wherever there is change, calculus (and a derivative in particular) is not far behind. Then, the author shows you how to mathematize several aspects of your daily life (from rainfall to driving forces to congestion on the roadways), by showing you how to let mathematics speak to you. In addition, he examines how mathematics, and specifically calculus, connects many different phenomena through its formulas, concepts, and reasoning. Also, the author shows you how calculus doesn't just describe your world, calculus actually makes life better through the theory of integration, by using derivatives to optimize your revenue or profit streams. He continues, by showing you that mathematical integrals are also just as important a tool to optimize your revenue or profit streams. Finally, the author combines what you have learned about derivatives and integrals, to tackle some of the biggest questions in all of human existence. The author hopes that this excellent book has helped you see that you’re already familiar with a lot of mathematics; and, that the only prerequisite is curiosity. In other words, he hopes that this great book will help you spread the good word about calculus!