- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; 3rd edition (October 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393969975
- ISBN-13: 978-0393969979
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 93 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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DIV, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus 3rd Edition
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1997: by H. M. Schey- Informal text on vector calculus. Paperback cover is bright and shiny; crease along spine; binding is tight; text is clean; page edges are sharp; owner's name on inside.
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I am an engineering student and I already took an electromagnetic theory course at school and I thought this book would clear some concepts on vector calculus. However it did just the opposite, it over complicated what I already knew.
The book is very strange in a way that some times the author tries to excesively dumb down his explanations for you, and other times he will go to the other extreme making no sense to the reader, flashing equations out of the blue, giving no explanations as to how he got certain results, etc... For example he will start by giving a very easy going explanation, something any reader could follow, he will continue his explanation by solving an example, but at somepoint during the development of his example it seems that he forgot all about the reader and got carried away doing his own thing. At times I have to stare at a single page for minutes trying to figure out the 5 or 6 steps he skipped.
On the foreword the author tells you what you need to know in order to understand his book, concluding with "an hours time with any reasonable text on the subject should provide you with anything you need to know to follow this text". I strongly disagree with the previous statement, you need a solid background in multivariable calculus and electromagnetism, in fact you need a solid background in vector calculus which is the subject you are trying to learn with this book in the first place!
In my opinion if you are trying to learn vector calculus for an electromagnetics course, you are much better off dumping this book and reading Dan Fleisch's "A students guide to Maxwell equations" which covers vector calculus applied to electromagnetics in such a beautiful way. However if your goal is to learn vector calculus for a different subject, I would say that given the amount of previous knowledge on multivariable, vector calculus and electromagnetism you need to know in order to read this book, you are much better with a standard vector calculus book.
As one of the reviewers wrote, this book can make a lot of sense reading it back after years of study, but if you are still not a master on the field, then it will just make things worse, like it did it to me...
"To begin with, you should, of course, be fluent in elementary calculus. Beyond that you should know how to work with functions of several variables, partial derivatives, and multiple (double and triple) integrals. Finally you must know something about vectors."
So, you need to know a little bit about multivariable calculus to be successful with self-studying this book. Oh, and this edition, I've heard, is a major change from the first edition in terms of notation, but not a whole lot different from the third and fourth editions, so save some money and get this one. You won't regret it.
Additionally, the author makes a point to describe the concepts behind the jargon and equations. When you took vector calculus the first time (if you ever did), could you explain in words what a "curl" is, or a "divergence"? This book attempts to do so, and does so fairly well (as well as one could given that these concepts don't have the easiest translation into words).
Furthermore, the author even has a sense of humor and made me laugh a few times. When was the last time you laughed out loud at a math book?
Finally, this book also includes applications to physics such as electrostatics (the recurring thematic problem of the book is Gauss's Law), fluid dynamics, and work.
Not only was it a great refresher, I wanted to own this clear and simple book as a reference.