David Berlinski A Tour of the Calculus

ISBN 13: 9780679426455

A Tour of the Calculus

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9780679426455: A Tour of the Calculus
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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.

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About the Author:

David Berlinksi was born in New York City. He received a B.A. degree from Columbia College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and France.

Review:

Calculus is a remarkable intellectual achievement--and a deeply consequential one, for it has made modern science, and especially modern physics, possible. Its essentials have been refined, over three centuries, into a structure of elegant economy. David Berlinski's Tour walks the general reader through this modern edifice, displaying the logical frame that supports it and the grandeur of the completed whole.

A Tour of the Calculus offers much to admire. It is a popular but honest explanation of beautiful and deep mathematics, refusing to patronize or demoralize readers with winks to reassure them that "getting it" does not matter. Berlinski clearly savors the comedy of teaching, and is consistently full of high spirits, whether he is opinionizing, salting his text with literary jokes, or otherwise cutting up.

Years ago, when a friend asked what need she had of calculus, I blustered, why do you need King Lear? A Tour of the Calculus, despite its idiosyncrasies, is a spirited and welcome attempt at a more adequate reply. -- Commentary Magazine, April 1997, David Guaspari

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