A Tour of the Calculus

A Tour of the Calculus

4.2 8
by David Berlinski
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Were it not for the calculus, mathematicians would have no way to describe the acceleration of a motorcycle or the effect of gravity on thrown balls and distant planets, or to prove that a man could cross a room and eventually touch the opposite wall. Just how calculus makes these things possible and in doing so finds a correspondence between real numbers and the

Overview

Were it not for the calculus, mathematicians would have no way to describe the acceleration of a motorcycle or the effect of gravity on thrown balls and distant planets, or to prove that a man could cross a room and eventually touch the opposite wall. Just how calculus makes these things possible and in doing so finds a correspondence between real numbers and the real world is the subject of this dazzling book by a writer of extraordinary clarity and stylistic brio. Even as he initiates us into the mysteries of real numbers, functions, and limits, Berlinski explores the furthest implications of his subject, revealing how the calculus reconciles the precision of numbers with the fluidity of the changing universe.

"An odd and tantalizing book by a writer who takes immense pleasure in this great mathematical tool, and tries to create it in others."—New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Berlinski (Black Mischief: The Mechanics of Modern Science, LJ 2/15/86) presents an unconventional work on the foundations of calculus. It is in part an informal history of the subject, the author inrerweaves the historical fragments with expository sections that explain the concepts from a modern viewpoint. He gives special attention (very appropriately) to the concept of limits and to several of the fundamental theorems that underpin calculus. He also shows how differential calculus deals with rates of change and how integral calculus works to determine areas under curves. Writing in a breezingly informal style, the author includes a plethora of humorous asides as well as a number of clearly fictitious anecdotes. At times his prose gets a bit too ripe, but the overall effect is to make the book quite readable. The work should be especially useful for providing perspective to college and advanced high school students currently learning calculus. Recommended for all public and college libraries.-Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679747888
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
537,191
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Tour of the Calculus 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jorufo More than 1 year ago
I LOVE math. But this book was more prose than interesting content.
Hlance50 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.