A Tour of the Calculusby David Berlinski
In its largest aspect, the calculus functions as a celestial measuring tape, able to order the infinite expanse of the universe. Time and space are given names, points, and limits; seemingly intractable problems of motion, growth, and form are reduced to answerable questions. Calculus was humanity's first attempt to represent the world and perhaps its greatest… See more details below
In its largest aspect, the calculus functions as a celestial measuring tape, able to order the infinite expanse of the universe. Time and space are given names, points, and limits; seemingly intractable problems of motion, growth, and form are reduced to answerable questions. Calculus was humanity's first attempt to represent the world and perhaps its greatest meditation on the theme of continuity. Charts and graphs throughout.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- 5 MB
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...read this book! Undoubtedly the best book on mathematics I've read. Hugely entertaining in its whimsical style. Read it if you want to know exactly WHY you are studying calculus.
This book is for ANYONE interested in math. I am 14 and I LOVED this book. Now I am looking for some real calculus textbooks. A must read.
I have read, and re-read 'A Tour of the Calculus' several times; each time gleaning something new are more subtle than the last. Berlinski has extracted and distilled the essence of the alculus, the continuum, and indeed that of 'real' numbers and functions. I was inspired by this book to revisit elementary analytic functions, this time from an elevated view. How function approximation leads to orthogonal function spaces to fourier series/transform (a special case) to wavelet transforms (the true general case). An outstanding work by Berlinski; at times I laughed out loud when reading the anectdotes, especial about the waiter in Prague - 'nicht da'. Doesn't exist... I heartily recommend 'A Tour of the Calculus'; if you don't find it enlightening and entertaining, you're probably a college professor at a public university :o).
I LOVE math. But this book was more prose than interesting content.
As an old but devoted student of mathematics and science, I was easily drawn to this book by title and synopsis. Neither hinted at what a master of language, of storytelling, of visual creation Mr. Berlinski is. In addition to a wonderful tour, a revisiting of the calculus I enjoyed in my youth, he provided the gift of pleasurable excursions in history, biography, and philosophy. I was brokenhearted when the last page was turned.
In college thirty years ago, I took a notorious 'gut' course, 'math for poets'. I never thought I would end up reading a book about math written BY a poet...Berlinski is absolutely fabulous, explaining the relationship between calculus and real world applications with great literacy and humor. Make no mistake - this book is NOT a simplification of calculus (I doubt such a thing would be possible). Rather, it is, as its title states, a 'tour', a fanciful, insightful, reasonably accessible introduction to calculus and an appreciation of its power and beauty. And that beauty is what this book is all about.