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Author Topic: Good beginner's calc books?
nerdwithnofriends
Uber Geek
Member # 3773

Icon 1 posted December 20, 2007 10:40      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey guys, I was wondering if any of you knew of any good intro-to-calculus books.

I'm looking for one for my dad. He has a degree in microbiology (worked in a medical lab for a looong time) and now works as a consultant for some lab management application. He may or may not have taken calculus when he was in school (right before the first gulf war, then he got shipped out as a corpsman. The navy payed for his school). Either way, he sure as hell doesn't remember any of it now.

Given enough time, I could teach him. I think he'd catch on quick. Problem is, I don't live with or even in the same town as my folks (though I talk to them every day via MSN or Gtalk). It would really be better if he had a book he could reference at any time, though.

The reason I ask is because I was looking at xkcd's nerd sniping strip, and I wanted to find out the solution. So I did, and I taught myself the use of a Fourier transform (never learned that before, found it very interesting).

Well, I gave the problem to my dad as a riddle of sorts, forgetting that he didn't have the tools to solve it. While I succeeded in explaining the concept of a Fourier transform, I can't readily explain the mechanism by which it achieves its transforminess.

My dad's a very visual guy; thus, a book with lots of graphic examples ("see, an integral shows you the area between the curve and the axis") would be awesome.

I have a book my aunt bought for me when I "graduated" eighth grade (why do they still celebrate that?) that is kind of a poetic explanation of the calculus. While it might could work, it's really very... wordy. I never actually finished it because it was too poetic. And my dad has the same respect for poetry that I do (that is, none).

My dad's kind of an armchair-physicist; he likes to muse on how the universe works, even though he doesn't have a formal understanding of the subject (that's what I'm for, apparently). I think an understanding of simple calculus (no need for multiple integrals or the complex plane; I can explain those, if the need arises).

So anyways, yeah, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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