Calculus Textbook “Dazzles” and “Inspires”

September 26, 2010 2:40 pm
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Calculus Textbook “Dazzles” and “Inspires”

Colley’s masterpiece “Vector Calculus” is not your average math textbook. Colley has a way with words that makes reading about the dot product and the del operator a pure joy. She draws us in with a soothing third-person omniscient narrator, and the rest is just a whirling adventure through vectors and integrals.

“Vector Calculus” is a journey of love, lust and revenge amidst a sea of mathematics. The plot escalates until we reach extrema and Lagrange multipliers in Chapter 4, and this is really when you fall for the characters.

“I want the reader to get lost in the pages of this book,” Colley said, “because when you read about the Jacobian, you realize there are things bigger than yourself.”

Colley maintains a beautiful extended metaphor throughout the book. We read of the derivative and find ultimately, that although things may change with respect to x, we are changing also.