Calculus is the mathematics of change...and The Cartoon Guide to Calculus represents a big change from previous books on this subject. Using graphics and humor to lighten what is often perceived as a challenging discipline, Larry Gonick teaches all of the essentials, from functions and limits to derivatives and integrals.
The cartoon’s unnamed narrator, with the help of his friend Delta Wye, guides us through a vast range of concepts. We see, for example, how calculus was initially conceived by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz as a way of resolving age-old mysteries involving the calculation of motion. Newton and Leibniz make several cameo appearances within the book, sometimes to quibble with each other regarding who invented calculus first, but mostly to explain a new concept to us. It’s fun to learn about instantaneous velocity with an example involving Newton jumping up and down on a trampoline.
We go on to study a vast range of functions—Gonick invents a function creature to show how they work. We also are treated to a visual definition of the limit that is significantly easier to understand than the algebraic version that has traditionally been taught to generations of students. Learning derivatives in calculus has always involved diagrams, but not quite as vividly as in this book. For example, at one point, the narrator finds himself in a rapidly filling pool of water in order to calculate the instantaneous rate of flow. Equally refreshing is the way the book shows us a sphere literally being cut up into slices in a section that illustrates how to calculate its volume.
Complete with end-of-chapter exercises, The Cartoon Guide to Calculus will inspire even the most math-phobic among us.
Softcover Book : 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers ( January 17, 2012 )
Item #: 13-498094
Product Dimensions: 7.375 x 9.25 inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)