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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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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.
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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: 9.4 x 8.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I admit that I may be biased.
Casey M Wood
So -- it's very poorly organized and lacks coherence or purpose to this reorganization / disorganization of the material.
Clyde
I had to buy this book for a class and I hope no one else has to because it is useless.
Nathaniel Marks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 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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6 of 7 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 Clyde on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I hope to never use this textbook again in my entire life.

This textbook fails to organize the material properly. It mixes together concepts that are related in a web of confusion and disorganization. The subject of second order equations is spread over a whopping three chapters. The topic of modeling is addressed vaguely and then a smattering of it is all throughout the book, without any clear organization or structure. It does nothing except inappropriately break up other sections and problem sets, rather than teaching students modeling, it just makes it harder to teach them everything else.

Concepts like homogeneous/particular solutions are introduced too early, but the early introduction of these concepts is not capitalized on when they are reintroduced in later sections. Topics are frequently "in the wrong order" as far as I'm concerned, and teaching this book requires at least four or five transpositions of adjacent sections to get things to be in a more reasonable order. The book focuses, sometimes, on three rails: analytical, qualitative, and numerical. And yet, the book is not organized (in series, parallel, or any other way) around this partition of the subject of DEs. That triumvirate is just tossed in every now and then when students are facing a hodge-podge of related, disorganized topics, as if slapping those three labels on them will help.

So -- it's very poorly organized and lacks coherence or purpose to this reorganization / disorganization of the material.

This book also skimps on important details in its exposition and examples, while feeling free to complicate such with rambling and incoherence that -- while amusing to an educated reader -- becomes incredibly confusing to students.
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