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Differential Equations (with DE Tools Printed Access Card) Hardcover – April 11, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1133109037 ISBN-10: 1133109039 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 4 edition (April 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1133109039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1133109037
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Blanchard is Associate Professor of Mathematics at Boston University. Paul grew up in Sutton, Massachusetts, spent his undergraduate years at Brown University, and received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught college mathematics for twenty-five years, mostly at Boston University. In 2001, he won the Northeast Section of the Mathematical Association of America's Award for Distinguished Teaching in Mathematics. He has coauthored or contributed chapters to four different textbooks. His main area of mathematical research is complex analytic dynamical systems and the related point sets, Julia sets and the Mandelbrot set. Most recently his efforts have focused on reforming the traditional differential equations course, and he is currently heading the Boston University Differential Equations Project and leading workshops in this innovative approach to teaching differential equations. When he becomes exhausted fixing the errors made by his two coauthors, he usually closes up his CD store and heads to the golf course with his caddy, Glen Hall.

Robert L. Devaney is Professor of Mathematics at Boston University. Robert was raised in Methuen, Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Boston University since 1980. His main area of research is complex dynamical systems, and he has lectured extensively throughout the world on this topic. In 1996 he received the National Excellence in Teaching Award from the Mathematical Association of America. When he gets sick of arguing with his coauthors over which topics to include in the differential equations course, he either turns up the volume of his opera CDs, or heads for waters off New England for a long distance sail.

Glen R. Hall is Associate Professor of Mathematics at Boston University. Glen spent most of his youth in Denver, Colorado. His undergraduate degree comes from Carleton College and his Ph.D. comes from the University of Minnesota. His research interests are mainly in low-dimensional dynamics and celestial mechanics. He has published numerous articles on the dynamics of circle and annulus maps. For his research he has been awarded both NSF Postdoctoral and Sloan Foundation Fellowships. He has no plans to open a CD store since he is busy raising his two young sons. He is an untalented, but earnest, trumpet player and golfer. He once bicycled 148 miles in a single day.

Customer Reviews

I admit that I may be biased.
Casey M Wood
I had to buy this book for a class and I hope no one else has to because it is useless.
Nathaniel Marks
I order this book instead of from my universities book store, and saved more than half.
Joel M. Armendariz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter on December 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had to get this for a course next semester, and have started to go through it. It seems quite good, but I'll update this review in May with my final conclusions when I've read and done it all.

The reviewers who don't like it should read the first two paragraphs of the preface, which explain clearly why the authors tried something different. If anyone wants a classic ODE textbook or reference book, there's hardly a lack of them; in particular Dover has some very good and inexpensive textbooks. My personal opinion, coming back to math after 30+ years, is that it's rather hidebound, and given the poor record math departments have of attracting and retaining students, a change would do it good. There could well be people who study ODEs for their intrinsic interest, from a pure math perspective, but they have got to be a tiny minority. Most students will benefit most from learning to understand how to use ODEs, what they tell you, and how to get solutions, for science and engineering applications. That's what this book appears to be focused on. In particular, since it seeks to explain modeling with differential equations, the hardest step of which is how to map from reality to model (just as with junior high school word problems). That part of modeling is not primarily mathematical, so the language of discourse has to be natural language, not math itself. This is the first book I've used that makes any serious (if introductory) effort to explain that step, and I appreciate it.

As for the price, agreed, it's ridiculous. The American textbook industry deserves a revolt by the masses, and over time will get one, just as the recording industry got one. One problem is that many teachers are oblivious to the price of the books they choose--some literally do not know the price and do not make the trivial effort required nowadays to find out. Of course the education industry deserves a revolt by the masses too...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G. Cantor on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, it would be difficult to find a better introductory text for ordinary differential equations. I have been teaching differential equations courses for many years and have used this text from the first edition to the (current) fourth. Prior to that I tried a number of alternative texts but was never happy with any of them.

This text is a modern introduction to the topic. By that I mean it exposes and exploits the geometric nature of differential equations. This is a huge improvement over many other texts at this level. Frankly, the "old style" of presenting the topic made it look like a collection of party tricks - and a narrow collection at that. Students suffering with those texts never got a real feel for the topic and its many applications. The techniques presented often completely ignored any reference to the geometry which is so important in understanding what the topic is really like.

Many of the other reviews of the book are the usual tired student complaints about a book they could not understand or appreciate. One wonders if any of these folks were really prepared for such a course. Probably not.

If you're an instructor looking for a fresh approach to differential equations, pick up a copy - you may never go back!
If you're a student about to take a course from this text, rest assured that, if you survive the course, you will have a solid understanding of the basic ideas in the topic.

Finally, there is a software package which comes with the book which offers students the opportunity to tinker with some equations in a phase plane setting. Very useful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence J. Baker on January 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this text to teach differential equations to advanced high school seniors and it worked extremely well. After considering several other texts, I was sold on this book for three reasons:

1. Rather than older-style differential equations books that focus on analytic methods, this book has a consistent approach of using a combination of analytic, qualitative, and numerical methods. As an industrial mathematician, most differential equations that I worked with could not be solved analytically and thus numerical and qualitative techniques became key tools.

2. The friendly expository style of the authors motivates the material and is easier for students to understand than more formal textbooks. New material is always introduced by concrete examples before getting into theory.

3. The book is written from a dynamical systems point of view and the authors tap into many interesting results from the past 40-50 years, e.g., the Lorenz equations, modeling epidemics, adaptive shock absorbers, etc.

Perhaps my most pleasant surprise teaching the course was how much the students liked and learned from DETools, the differential equation software that comes with the textbook. We regularly used DETools in class (there's essentially no learning curve) and its use energized the students and made much more clear to them the nature of solutions.

I also found the exploratory projects at the end of each chapter very valuable. My students liked the challenge of these more general and open-ended problems, and the projects solidified their understanding.

As far as the nuts and bolts of teaching the course, I typically covered one section per day, and we did most of the sections in Chapters 1-6.
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