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Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us by [Fernandez, Oscar E.]
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Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Description


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"

"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"

"[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"

"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"

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

"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"

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

From the Back Cover

""Everyday Calculus" tracks a day in the life of mathematician Oscar Fernandez, from his morning cup of joe to his night out at the theater, and lets us see the world the way he does: written in equations, the language of nature. He gently guides the reader through the basics of derivatives and integrals, revealing the hidden connections lurking just beneath the surface of our daily lives."--Jennifer Ouellette, author of "The Calculus Diaries"

"Calculus has played an essential role in the development of engineering, medicine, physics, chemistry, geology, statistics, and a variety of other areas. But where is it in our everyday lives? In this beautiful book, Oscar Fernandez answers that question by noting all of the ways that calculus appears in the world around us, from the coffee cooling on the counter to the rain drops hitting an umbrella. You will never look at daily life in quite the same way again."--Colin Adams, coauthor of "How to Ace Calculus"

"With a clear style and refreshing approach, this book shows how elementary calculus is relevant to practical day-to-day events familiar to us all."--John Adam, author of "X and the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life"

"A fun and delightful read."--Thomas Garrity, Williams College

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4706 KB
  • Print Length: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (13 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #567,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As he goes through his day, Fernandez looks at ordinary events and concocts mathematical explanations for what happens. Everything from the cooling of hot beverages in the morning to the rate of the transmission of the common cold to estimating wait times when a train is stalled are examined and explained using calculus. I counted over 30 subtitles in the TOC, so the breadth of topics is considerable.
To his credit, Fernandez pulls no formulaic punches in his descriptions: when a differential or integral is needed he uses it, no matter how complex. This is very refreshing. One thing that I find annoying about math books is when the author exhibits a case of “equation shyness,” an unwillingness to include equations in the text for fear of turning off readers (and reducing royalties). Yet, the topic being explained cannot be fully understood any way other than with the use of one or more equations.
If you are a math teacher looking for some everyday phenomena that are explained using calculus to liven up your course, then this is the book for you. There are many selections; you will have no trouble finding something you can use. If you are looking for a good math book, (with math included), then this one will certainly work for you.

This book was made available for free for review purposes
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is how books in science should be written. You can learn what calculus is about in the dash board of a car. Instant speed of the car is differentiation .The total miles covered is integration.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91c43888) out of 5 stars 41 reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b509420) out of 5 stars A Fun Introduction to Calculus 16 April 2014
By George Poirier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, the author describes a typical day in his life, all the while concentrating on “mathematizing” various things/events/processes that he sees around him. From functions to differentiation to integration, the reader is gently guided through the nature of calculus and how it can be used to solve various problems in the real world. This is all done in a most painless way; the more in-depth calculational details are relegated to appendices. Although, as pointed out by the author, the mathematical models that are developed here are crude approximations to reality, the approaches that are used are important and serve to illustrate the power of calculus.

On the down side, I did find a few errors, e.g., Galileo did not invent the telescope (as stated on p.17), the speed of light is not 11,176,920 miles per second (as given on p. 47), etc. However, I did not find many such mistakes and they do not detract from the essence of the book.

I found the writing style to be very friendly, lively, authoritative, highly accessible and quite captivating. Although any interested reader could enjoy this little book (117 pages of main text), it would likely be most appreciated by math/science enthusiasts. The book could also be used as an enjoyable complement to an introductory course in calculus.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b509474) out of 5 stars Sneaky Intro to Differential Equations 24 April 2014
By Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The systems, events and measurements highlighted in this fine little book are the "everyday" part-- the calculus is not! In order to model the types of everyday experiences the author describes in fine fashion, simply taking the first or second derivative to find slope or acceleration doesn't do much. The truth is that he's subtly talking about dynamical systems-- differential EQUATIONS, not just calc as we'd see it as an isolated technique.

The real physics, engineering, biology, etc. that these equations model require matrix vectors and really advanced concepts and techniques, many of them not even able to be generalized beyond that model or problem. In fact, of the four methods used in dynamical systems (analytic, qualitative, numeric and the newest family member stochastic/statistical), most are incapable of modeling anything but the simplest versions of the underlying "reality." We can't, for example, specify the design of an airplane wing analytically, so we use qualitative (graphs, for example) and numeric ("guesses" with computer algorithms), which as we engineers would say, gets us "close enough."

I just didn't want you misled into thinking that the calculus itself was everyday or simple. The author does a wonderful job of hand holding us through the foundations. There is a lot of value in this in: 1. Getting us "ready" for advanced applications 2. Giving us a fun glimpse at why calc is so important 3. Giving us an intuitive feel for why we model in the more advanced form. Every High School student interested in math should read this, even though the true topics are advanced undergrad and grad level! The author actually makes this possible, which is a rare feat. If you're an AP math student, you'll get this easily, and the appendix will transition you to undergrad. The sneaky part is that the solutions to the calculus described here are quantities, whereas the real-life modeling dynamical systems equations have functions as solutions. This is normally not taught in High School, at least in the US (I teach bright HS kids math online).

If you're an autodidact or math enthusiast, you'll enjoy this regardless of your level, as there is a very broad collection of applications, and the author explains them in enough detail to whet your appetite for more. Highly recommended for the right reader. I also had no problem with the formulas (they aren't that detailed, and have no nasty page breaks) on my Kindle. If I were home schooling, I'd definitely get this as a "motivator" to teach why math is so important to "real" life. Realistically, it is the brain that uses these equations to cross a street, not necessarily our everyday mind! You won't be doing calculations after reading this (except unconsciously) to decide where to sit in a movie. Honestly, most "users" of these techniques are engineers and physicists, but even an 11 year old child is doing advanced calc when s/he rides a bike!!! Pretty astonishing.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b509750) out of 5 stars A Must Read 20 Aug. 2014
By Jay1905 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A humorous insightful book that respects the intelligence of its reader. The author has adroitly balanced insight into the concepts and the calculations behind them with the clever use of an appendix. For those who learned calculus many years ago, it is a refreshing read that will give you insights that you wish you had learned when you first approached calculus. If you are just learning the subject, this is an invaluable read as you will understand the meaning behind all of those calculations that you preform (unlike most of the lame word problems that you find in the typical textbook).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b509c78) out of 5 stars √ Use Calculus to Calculate Time Wasted Tweeting 5 Aug. 2014
By Bassocantor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written, whimsical way of seeing calculus at work in our everyday life. The author describes many commonplace objects and actions, then shows how calculus actually underpins the foundation. For example, the author shows how we can use calculus to model worker productivity, and how much time is lost goofing around on the Internet, instead of doing real work.

The strongest part of this book is the professor's very clear and humorous writing style. It really makes a tough subject more fun. My favorite part was the professor's explanation of why Edison lost out on his D.C. power transmission lines. Edison's lines could only traverse 2 miles, whereas A.C. lines could travel hundreds of miles. Prof Fernandez clearly explains how induction is easily used to step-up/step-down the voltage of AC lines, whereas Edison was stuck with his "low" voltage 120 volts DC.

To top off the book, there are very complete appendices, with extended information on various equations discussed in the main body.

Minor nit: Surprised to see some misspelled words. Not significant, but a bit surprising.

√ All in all, a fun book by a witty writer. Recommend!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b509c90) out of 5 stars Another beautiful Calculus book; W. Sawyer and Kline Morris also have super nice Calculus and Math books for non mathematicians. 6 Jun. 2014
By Boutros Ghassibi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unique in that the book runs like a story and makes us see Calculus in every aspect of our daily life. Style is relaxed and easy.
In Calculus books, a problem is posed and Calculus is used to solve it. But in this book, you are amazed to bump into Calculus at every turn in life. You understand and fall in love with Calculus in a totally new fashion. The complex formulae are in the appendices
in order to avoid stumbling blocks that would detract from the train of thought.
I loved the author's dedication of his book to his mother, wife, and daughter, in Spanish.

Pierre Ghassibi, MD
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