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Elementary Differential Equations 9th Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470039403
ISBN-10: 047003940X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William E. Boyce received his B.A. degree in Mathematics from Rhodes College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is currently the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Science Education (Department of Mathematical Sciences) at Rensselaer. He is the author of numerous technical papers in boundary value problems and random differential equations and their applications. He is the author of several textbooks including two differential equations texts, and is the coauthor (with M.H. Holmes, J.G. Ecker, andW.L. Siegmann) of a text on using Maple to explore Calculus. He is also coauthor (with R.L. Borrelli and C.S. Coleman) of Differential Equations LaboratoryWorkbook (Wiley 1992), which received the EDUCOMBest Mathematics Curricular InnovationAward in 1993. Professor Boyce was a member of the NSF-sponsored CODEE (Consortium for Ordinary Differential Equations Experiments) that led to the widely-acclaimed ODE Architect. He has also been active in curriculum innovation and reform. Among other things, he was the initiator of the "Computers in Calculus" project at Rensselaer, partially supported by the NSF. In 1991 he received the William H.Wiley Distinguished FacultyAward given by Rensselaer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 9 edition (October 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047003940X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470039403
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book sucks. Yeah, I'm being really blunt here, but this is probably the second most useless math textbook I've ever used (the first being "A Friendly Introduction to Number theory"). Now, my beef is primarily with the text itself (the problems, while mostly dull, are useful for learning and applying the techniques -- so they serve their purpose well), since the explanations are hard to follow, written with gratuitously dense language, and are very murky and unclear.

For example, this book makes understanding the techniques of variation of parameters and undetermined coefficients ridiculously painful to understand. And don't even get me started on the chapter on Laplace transforms -- I could barely understand a single thing there!

However, it's not all bad. *most* of the earlier chapters' contents are pretty good. Still, there are some murky bits and random theoretical topics addressed only half-heartedly, but for the most part, they're okay.

Also, as I said before, the problems in this book aren't bad! My professor usually assigned suggested problems from the text and doing them really helped me memorize the techniques that I learned from Paul's Online Notes...erm, I mean from the chapter!

So yeah, it's an average, run of the mill, hard-to-understand textbook. If you're required to use it for a class, make sure you pay attention and not skip class thinking that you can learn from the book! If you're looking for a book for self study...well, I guess you can use it for the problems, but for the actual material, don't bother with it, just use Paul's Online Notes or ask for help on math forums or something.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is filled with abstract theory little of which makes sense to an ODE introductory student. The examples given in the book are rarely similar to the ones found in the problem set. I am currently taking ODE and I feel like I spend more time learning from the internet than from the book. The author takes the simplest topic and makes it sound like neuroscience. If you can avoid buying this book, then do so at all costs. If not, just get the old version for a low price( for the problem sets) and try learning the material from youtube and google.
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Format: Hardcover
Contrary to all the negative reviews I've seen about this book; they are wrong, this book is not bad at all. It probably isn't the best for absolute beginners, but if you give it a chance, it is a really good book. I refer to it every once in a while for clear explanations on ODEs (and it has an introduction to PDEs which is honestly probably best left to a PDE book). It is well organized and is written in a nice pedagogical style.

Diff EQ's 1 is a class that most noobs struggle at, just like Calc 2. I've seen hundreds of people struggle with this stuff, (most math and physics majors do just fine, and good engineering students do well, too) and I don't think they are that interested in the material. This stuff takes PRACTICE, and Boyce Diprima has good practice problems. I credit this book and my first Diff EQ teacher for giving me an excellent start in modeling. For the complainers: there are so many damn resources for learning this stuff you shouldn't been wasting your time writing a bad review, use the internet, or one of the thousands of other diff EQ books out there.

If your school/teacher has selected this book, do not be afraid. Instead, read the examples and do your homework, you can get good at setting up and solving these equations. The one area that I think this book is somewhat lacking (and where the teacher should pick up) is ensuring the student can set up ANY dynamical problem. Setting up a DE is more important than solving it. So, this book gets 4 stars because it is good, but lacks in the areas of teaching students a general approach to setting up DEs and it takes a little getting used to. But hey, diff EQs take a little getting used to!
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By JBitt on January 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My professor did not speak English very well; plus I found it hard to concentrate while he scribbled equations on the dry erase board. So when it came time to do the homework and study for exams, this book was about all I had. There are definitely improvements that could be made (more complex examples, better formatting), but the material is well explained and the examples are fairly numerous. With enough determination, you can get through Diff EQ with just this book.
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Format: Hardcover
My professor used this for a one semester course on ordinary differential equations, and it did the job nearly perfectly. Differential equations is essentially just the study of solving various equations containing derivatives, and often there seems to be no unifying theme behind the course. It's a bunch of techniques thrown together in a seemingly unrelated way that leaves the student with a number of tools he or she can use to solve various types of differential equations as they appear in future coursework. This leads to a large number of disorganized, and disjointed texts that fail to connect the course from one chapter to the next.

Boyce helps the reader see the connections between first and second order equations and between homogeneous and non homogenous equations by introducing things in order, and having various chapters parallel each other. The book occasionally suffers from extraneous sections (usually at the end of a chapter), and has a tendency to ramble in the text sections. It also gets progressively weaker as chapters go on. One will need a supplementary source for phase portraits, and chapter seven starts well and ends in a jumble. Proofs are both succinct and understandable.

Differential equations is not a particularly difficult subject at the introductory level, but it requires a lot of practice. That's where this book shines. Many practice problems with the answers (not solutions) in the back of the text. This allows students to master the techniques through practice, which is essential to this course. Not without flaws, but overall a great introduction.
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