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Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe Paperback – April 14, 2020
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A New York Times bestseller
Featured on NPR’s Science Friday
Named one of the 10 Best Books to Read this Spring by Amazon’s Chris Schluep
A New York Times Bestseller
Featured on NPR's Science Friday
Named one of 10 Best Books to Read this Spring by Amazon's Chris Schluep
“Marvelous . . . an array of witty and astonishing stories . . . to illuminate how calculus has helped bring into being our contemporary world and so many of the instruments whose role we now blithely assume.”
—The Washington Post
“Fortunately, we live in an era when a top mathematician can write a book about calculus that is accessible to the mathematically challenged...it is the historical detail in the book that not only allows me to follow the math by taking me through how it was discovered, but also sticks in my mind. [Strogatz] makes me want to get out a textbook and start studying calculus.”
“. . . wonderful . . . bringing the insights of calculus—among the most important of all developments in the history of mathematics—to everyone.”
—Brian Greene, on Twitter
“I’ve never read a clearer explanation of calculus or the significant powers we gained by harnessing infinity. Michael and I highly recommend it!”
—Vsauce, on Twitter
“Fascinating anecdotes abound in Infinite Powers . . . Strogatz uses the right amount of technical detail to convey complex concepts with clarity . . . evocatively conveys how calculus illuminates the patterns of the Universe, large and small.”
“A brilliant, appealing explanation of how calculus works and why it makes our lives so much better.”
—Amazon’s Chris Schluep, for the Saturday Evening Post
“Strogatz does a great job of explaining a difficult subject . . . he lays out the case that calculus is fundamental to the way we live today . . . a solid choice for readers who want to know what calculus is all about, and for teachers who wish to improve their presentation.”
“An energetic effort that successfully communicates the author’s love of mathematics.”
“Far-ranging survey . . . clear and accessible . . . Strogatz successfully illuminates a notoriously complex topic and this work should enhance appreciation for the history behind its innovations.”
“Are you one of those people who always said you’d someday learn calculus? Well, someday is here, thanks to Steven Strogatz’s wide-ranging, humane, thoroughly readable take on one of the greatest ideas our species has ever produced.”
—Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong
“This is a glorious book. Steven Strogatz manages to unmask the true hidden wonder and delightful simplicity of calculus. Infinite Powers is a master class in accessible math writing and a perfect read for anyone who feels like they never quite understood what all the fuss was about. It had me leaping for joy.”
—Hannah Fry, author of Hello World
“If calculus is the language of the universe, then Steven Strogatz is its Homer. With verve, insight, and simplicity, he explains the deep ideas underlying one of humankind’s greatest intellectual achievements. Infinite Powers is an incalculable pleasure.”
—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Warning: this book is dangerous. It will make you love mathematics. Even more, there is a nonzero risk it will turn you into a mathematician.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan
“In this tour de force, Steve Strogatz shares his love as well as his deep understanding of calculus and mathematics more generally. An elegant and ebullient book, Infinite Powers speaks to everyone, reminding us why mathematics matters in a practical sense, while all the time highlighting the cleverness and especially the beauty involved.”
—Lisa Randall, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science, Harvard University, author of Warped Passages and Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs
“This could be the most fascinating book I have ever read. If you have even the slightest curiosity about math and its role in this world, I implore you to read this amazing book. Every teacher, every student, and every citizen will be better for it.”
—Jo Boaler, author of Mathematical Mindsets, professor of mathematics education, Stanford University, and cofounder of youcubed.org
“Steven Strogatz is a world-class mathematician and a world-class science writer. With a light touch and razor-sharp clarity, he brilliantly filters his deep knowledge of calculus into an engaging epic that tells the remarkable story of a mathematical breakthrough that changed the world—and continues to do so.”
—Alex Bellos, author of Here’s Looking at Euclid and The Grapes of Math
“The world is a big thing made of an infinite number of infinitely small things. That’s the lesson of calculus, the most powerful mathematical technique ever invented. In this engaging book, Steven Strogatz illuminates the importance of calculus and explains its mysteries as only he can.”
—Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture
“Reading Infinite Powers, I was reminded why Steve Strogatz is, at present, the best mathematician among writers and the best writer among mathematicians.”
—William Dunham, Bryn Mawr College, author of Journey through Genius and The Calculus Gallery
“Infinite Powers is simple, lucid, amusing, informative, and a pleasure to read. If you want to know where calculus came from, how it works, what it’s good for, and where it’s going next, this is the book for you.”
—Professor Ian Stewart, author of Significant Figures
“A highly readable account of calculus and its modern applications—all done with the human touch.”
—Dr. David Acheson, author of The Calculus Story
About the Author
- Publisher : Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 14, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0358299284
- ISBN-13 : 978-0358299288
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But why would you want to do that? Well, as the author asserts in the beginning of the book, Calculus is the language of God. Perhaps even more interestingly, he says that Calculus is the operating system or computer language that animates EVERYTHING from moment to moment and place to place.
So consider this; if you've EVER thought that maybe we are in a simulation - a virtual reality - then Calculus is the game engine code that our universe uses to draw the world we are playing the game in right now.
If you can imagine God as a computer game coder, and he set out to create a game called "Humanity" or "Life in the Universe As We Know It" - then instead of sitting down with UnReal Engine or Unity or Java or C++, he chose Calculus. Calculus is the language he programmed the Universe with and the more we understand the code, the more we understand the Universe.
That's kind of fascinating if you think about it - AND it is coexists with the Bible just fine. The Bible doesn't tell us the details of how God created the Universe or what he used to create it - The Bible just says he did it. Calculus is the "language" or a way for us to be able to tell what it is going to do next. My son and I have intense conversations about things like this - and this book makes them far more interesting.
I took Calculus in college several decades ago. I was a C student. I also took Differential Equations, and did much better. I felt like Calculus was the tools and D.E. was using the tools to do things. This book explains the tools and it is fascinating. I recommend it for anyone who is even a little curious about how our universe works, or also anyone who appreciates the artistic beauty of the order in our universe. Calculus is fascinating and even exciting if it is explained by the right person, and with Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe, Steven Strogatz is the right person to do it. I highly recommend this book if you are even slightly interested in how the universe and the world around you works.
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What this book does is explain some of the why. It’s not a dry, dull read that throws theorems and formulas at you with brief explanations. Instead, there are real-world examples that show why calculus is the means to the end. Instead of gagging you with straight theory and practice like a class textbook, it brings calculus down to a level that makes it much more interesting and, in a tangible way, fun. Now, it does not offer comprehensive coverage, of course; my calculus textbook from college is a full 1,000 pages and covers a lot of more obscure stuff that this book doesn’t mention, but that’s not this book’s intention. The idea here is to give a more high-level coverage with application.
I sure wish I had this book when I was struggling with the subject; knowing the “why” makes the “how” a lot easier to work through.
I’m still working my way through this book, but so far it has been very enjoyable and thought provoking. What I have read so far has made the subject of calculus a lot more interesting, even though I already have a handle on the mechanics of it. If you have struggled with calculus, this book is a way to build more understanding and appreciation. If you’re more curious and just want to know what it’s about, it’s a good starting point.
Top reviews from other countries
"To shed light on any continuous shape, object, motion, process, or phenomenon - no matter how wild and complicated it may appear - reimagine it as an infinite series of simpler parts, analyze those, and then add the results back together to make sense of the original whole."
Due to my consistent successes in learning varied topics, I never made much sense to me that math should be looked at as this special field that requires unique skills to understand and be proficient in. Like any other field, it is honed through lots of practice, practical applications, and attention. Steven's book really inspired in me that that hunch was more than just a hunch, and a year later I have gone well beyond my stunted grade school math education and can see myself learning math for the pure love of it for the rest of my life. Saying nothing of the fact that I know it will improve my hard skills across every domain I work in today and into the future.
Steven really has a gift not only for doing math itself, but for expressing exactly how and why learning math is, like any skill or topic worth devoting effort to, one of the deepest and most beautiful struggles. And, regardless of our learning stage or status, that struggle and its rewards belongs to all of us equally.