The Cartoon Guide to Calculus

Overview

A complete—and completely enjoyable—new illustrated guide to calculus

Master cartoonist Larry Gonick has already given readers the history of the world in cartoon form. Now, Gonick, a Harvard-trained mathematician, offers a comprehensive and up-to-date illustrated course in first-year calculus that demystifies the world of functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals. Using clear and helpful graphics—and delightful humor to lighten what is frequently a tough subject—he teaches ...

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Overview

A complete—and completely enjoyable—new illustrated guide to calculus

Master cartoonist Larry Gonick has already given readers the history of the world in cartoon form. Now, Gonick, a Harvard-trained mathematician, offers a comprehensive and up-to-date illustrated course in first-year calculus that demystifies the world of functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals. Using clear and helpful graphics—and delightful humor to lighten what is frequently a tough subject—he teaches all of the essentials, with numerous examples and problem sets. For the curious and confused alike, The Cartoon Guide to Calculus is the perfect combination of entertainment and education—a valuable supplement for any student, teacher, parent, or professional.

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Editorial Reviews

Lisa Randall
“How do you humanize calculus and bring its equations and concepts to life? Larry Gonick’s clever and delightful answer is to have characters talking, commenting, and joking-all while rigorously teaching equations and concepts and indicating calculus’s utility. It’s a remarkable accomplishment-and a lot of fun.”
Xiao-Li Meng
Gonick is to graphical expositions of advanced materials as Newton or Leibniz is to calculus. The difference is that Gonick has no rival.
David Mumford
Larry Gonick’s sparkling and inventive drawings make a vivid picture out of every one of the hundreds of formulas that underlie Calculus. Even the jokers in the back row will ace the course with this book.
Persi Diaconis
I always thought that there are no magic tricks that use calculus. Larry Gonick proves me wrong. His book is correct, clear and interesting. It is filled with magical insights into this most beautiful subject.
Susan Holmes
It has no mean derivative results about the only derivatives that matter…. A spunky tool-toting heroine called Delta Wye seems the perfect role model for our next generation.
Amy Langville
A creative take on an old, and for many, tough subject…Gonick’s cartoons and intelligent humor make it a fun read.
Kirkus Reviews
A tour of calculus from the polymath whose illustrated guides have illuminated a wide range of subjects, from genetics and sex to the environment and the universe. This time out, unfortunately, Muse cartoonist Gonick's (The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2, 2009, etc.) presentation is labored, the cartoons are primarily decorative and the course is tough. To begin with, calculus requires four years of high-school math, which the author reprises in the first 50 pages. For many readers this will be a slog through algebra, trigonometry, exponentials, function theory, etc. While most texts map equations onto lines or curves on a standard x-y axis, Gonick introduces parallel lines with arrows connecting an x value on one line to its f(x) value on the parallel line. This approach is particularly unhelpful when you want to visualize, say, minute changes of position (on the y axis) over time (on the x axis). Nor does the author discuss fundamental concepts like continuity or maxima and minima until well into the chapters on the derivative and differential calculus. While he does highlight fundamental theorems and classic rules, Gonick devotes too much space to how-to manipulations like how to differentiate inverse functions. The narrative improves when the author introduces the concept of the integral as the sum of skinny rectangles under a curve, and Gonick provides many helpful, practical examples of how calculus is used. This is no idiot's guide to math, but it could be useful as a supplement to a standard course in calculus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061689093
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 249,558
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Gonick has been creating comics that explain math, history, science, and other big subjects for more than forty years. He has been a calculus instructor at Harvard (where he earned his BA and MA in mathematics) and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and he is currently staff cartoonist for Muse magazine. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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