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From Calculus to Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamics [Paperback]

David Acheson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 32.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 1997 0198500777 978-0198500773
What is calculus really for? This book is a highly readable introduction to applications of calculus, from Newton's time to the present day. These often involve questions of dynamics, i.e. of how - and why - things change with time. Problems of this kind lie at the heart of much of applied mathematics, physics, and engineering. From Calculus to Chaos takes a fresh approach to the subject as a whole, by moving from first steps to the frontiers, and by highlighting only the most important and interesting ideas, which can get lost amid a snowstorm of detail in conventional texts. The book is aimed at a wide readership, and assumes only some knowledge of elementary calculus. There are exercises (with full solutions) and simple but powerful computer programs which are suitable even for readers with no previous computing experience. David Acheson's book will inspire new students by providing a foretaste of more advanced mathematics and showing just how interesting the subject can be.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (28 Aug 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198500777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198500773
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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The author has been really successful in combining very intuitive mathematics with very intuitive physics in a highly readable book.....this is a most advisable book for first year courses on applied calculus, dynamics or introductory physics (or for a part of such courses). It will be also very useful to science teachers in schools and to general readers interested in science who wish to use their home computers to keep up with an important aspect of physical science. (Institute of Physics)

Using carefully selected examples, from the time of Newton to the present day the author demonstrates in a highly readable form what we usually call the mathematization of physical problems. (European Mathematical Society Newsletter, issue 27, March 1998)

The project as a whole succeeds well, and the book deserves to be on the shelves of people ranging from school science teachers to undergraduates in mathematics and physics....The last chapter deals with stability of inverted pendulums, and gives an excellent rounded account of how the theory, experiments, and simulations interact to explain this fascinating effect...The material presented here is a fascinating and unpretentious sweep through the subject, and it would make an ideal course text at undergraduate level, or an individual study book for well-motivated 'A' level readers...The aim of giving the reader insight into a wide array of dynamical problems using very elementary mathematics is achieved well, and the excellent selection of examples and historical asides adds depth to the topics covered.

I enjoyed reading this book and learned quite a lot from it. I recommend it to anyone who - like myself - knows calculus better than chaos, and would like to begin rectifying the situation as painlessly as possible

About the Author

Dr D.J. Acheson Jesus College Oxford OX1 3DW Tel: 01865 279700 Fax: 01865 279687 Email: david.acheson@jesus.ox.ac.uk

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I have also been to Dr. Acheson's lectures 25 Feb 2000
I think that the previous reviewer was a little optimistic. Acheson is a reasonable lecturer and this book does follow the first part of the Oxford University mathematics first year mechanics course well (in fact some of his problem sheets come straight from the book making it easy to complete said problem sheets!). However, the book goes into lots of, although interesting, unnecessary detail. It also does not contain anything on rotating frames of reference which is in the mechanics course at Oxford. So my advice is not to buy this book as a course guide but to get "A first course in Mechanics" by Lunn instead. However, if you want to get this book for interest then it is well worth it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an excellent overview of dynamics from the birth of calculus to the latest research in nonlinear dynamics - it bears all the marks of being well-honed under the test of teaching the material to students. As a physicist, Acheson doesn't get hung up on mathematical niceties at the expense of the meaning of things. A great feature is the inclusion of little computer programs written in QBASIC so that you can explore things for yourself. In the mid-1980s there were dozens of books that took this programming approach; all power to Acheson for reviving it in the face of "multimedia maths".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've been to this guy's lectures 1 Dec 1999
By A Customer
He's a good lecturer, doing the 1st term mechanics course (maths, the previous reviewer should note) at Oxford, much of which (and more) is covered in this book. And the book is quite decent too, especially for those such as myself who dislike mechanics dreadfully and who think it should be an option rather than an imposition - for goodness sakes, as the other reviewer implies, it just isn't maths. Still, if you are doing first year mechanics, buy this book - he has some great ideas and methods.
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This is a brilliant book for a quick recap or an introduction to mechanics as part of physics. It requires a sound (though not expert) understanding of calculus. Mind you, it's merely an introduction and needs further digging into the 'deep' waters of the subjects covered, i.e. numerical methods, oscillations, waves, fluids, chaos, etc., if you wish to master these subjects.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 29 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The author manages to express in an easily understandable form many of the more interesting applications of calculus, from planetary motion to the Indian Rope Trick (almost). This book is ideally suited for first year undergraduates and sixth-formers with a strong interest in Mechanics. All those doing maths at Oxford University MUST buy this book (the author spends most of the lectures making references to it and to not buy the book would be to not understand the mechanics course).
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