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Prof. E McSquared's Calculus Primer: Expanded Intergalactic Version Paperback – January 1, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"....the main achievement is in the exceptionally understandable treatment matching the rigorous mathematics. Highly recommended." -- Alan Sherlock, The Times (London) Educational Supplement

"...for any beginning student who needs help dramatizing mathematical arguments...." -- The American Mathematical Monthly

"...nonmathematicians and nonscientists would like some insight into calculus, I think, and wouldn't be frightened by this book... -- Martin Gardner, author of "Mathematical Games" column for "Scientific American"

About the Author

Howard Swann studied applied mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, during the Free Speech days of the sixties, receiving his Ph.D. in 1968. He has been at San Jose State University since 1970. He worked for many years in collaboration John Johnson, a gifted cartoonist, on "Prof. E. McSquared's Original and Highly Edifying Calculus Primer", the world's first Calculus Comic Book.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Dyer & Swann Publishing (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971462402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971462403
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,041,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Twenty-six years ago, I had struggled through Calculus twice. The first time I got a D. The second time I raised it to a C. But I was not satisifed. I had always been good at math and I was not going to let it beat me. So, I signed up again. I remember sitting through this stultifying lecture on matrix theory that left me completely baffled and depressed. That afternoon, in a chemistry lab, my new lab partner showed me this photocopied booklet. It was a comic book Calculus book called "Professor E. McSquared's Original and Highly Esoteric Calculus Primer." He said his professor had written it. I asked when his class was and immediately switched sections. Howard Swann turned out to be Prof. McSquared in the flesh -- funny, energetic and the single best teacher of any discipline it has been my pleasure to study under in 22 years of formal education. The best! This book will change the way you look at Calculus. You will laugh and do the problems and, for the first time, you will actually understand what is going on. It will become second nature. The mystery will disappear, the fog will lift, the lock break open, the veil will pass from before your eyes. My classmates and I were among the first to enjoy Prof. McSquared. The book was formally published for the first time the following year, 1974. It is still in print. That has to tell you something. This book will show you that you CAN not only do Calculus but understand it an even enjoy it. Buy it. It will be a gift to you.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a student at University of Chicago, and got into an advanced Calculus class, because of my good luck of having done well on the AP test. Immediately I was thrown into a confusing world of espilons and delta and omegas and proof and theorems not on the AP cirriculum. I am by no means an abstract symbol-based learner, so I was thrown by all these new concepts thrown at me at a breakneck pace.

Three days before my Calc midterm, and desperate to salvage my grade, I ordered McQuared's Calculus Primer.

And I was saved.

If you are a new student thrown by epsilon delta, and need a detailed, non-symbol based explanation to understand, this is the book for you. My only complaint is that the book only goes up to the first couple chapters of an real calc book (though at the high level of explanation it gives, it does those chapters justice at the highest level imaginiable.)

With its cartoony illustrations and backhanded sense of humor, Mc Square Calculus makes Calculus accessable and (dare I say?) makes learning fun.
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By A Customer on October 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
More years ago than I care to think about (in 1973), I was one of Howard Swann's guinea pigs on the first draft of Prof. E. McSquared's Original and Highly Edifying Calculus Primer in a Calculus class at San Jose State U. It was my third try at Calculus. I had made a D and a C in previous stabs but I was a biology major and needed the class.
Howard's book was a brilliant, entertaining, yet mathematically rigorous treatment of the subject that made it all make sense. I came away not only being able to do Calculus but truly understanding it. Years later, I gave my copy of the first edition of his book by my daughter for her freshman year.
If you have ever struggled with Calculus or are taking it for the first time, this book is worth its weight in gold. Buy it.
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Format: Paperback
Reviewer Jerry Harper spotted a typo in the 1975 edition
of Prof. McSquared's book and calls for a reply. The answer
to problem II.3.3 on page 205 contains the WRONG statement
(BUT 1/2 e < -e...). PROF. McSquared GOOFED! It should be
1/2 e < e!! This is corrected in the Expanded Intergalactic
Edition NOW reissued and available: ISBN 0971462402.
H. Swann, co-author, for Prof. McSquared
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the BEST calc primer I have worked through in the last two to three years. At first I was skeptical about the comic stuff but based upon the reviews I went ahead and ordered a used copy. To my surprise I was hooked right away beginning with Set Theory and the accompanying exercises.

The book, contrary to its appearance, is quite thorough. Also I completely agree with the plan of going through set theory and functions first before jumping into Limits. The chapter on Limits is the best I have seen in quite a while with just the right amount of rigor and intuition. The sub-chapters have quixotic but very appropriate titles. For example, Chapter II.8, "What happens when a point is missing from a graph: A genuine theorem is proved". The chapter on Derivatives is quite meaty and it kept me hooked.

This is an excellent primer, especially if one has been exposed to calculus. For folks who have not had calculus it is an excellent tool to get into shape prior to taking a calculus course. For the price this is a superb value and is one of those books that if used, will reap you a great harvest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My father (a physicist) gave me a copy of this book 30 (gasp!) years ago. I have just bought three copies to give to some young relatives who what to be engineers one day. The language is precise. The material is covered thoughtfully and thoroughly. The characters, the humor, and the distinct 70's flair is just too great for words. If you were a high school or college student in the late 70s, this book will take you back. I am re-reading it just for the nostalgia factor alone. But nostalgia is not the only reason to purchase this book. Young students will appreciate the intent of the book, which is to provide first the fundamental motivation for the need for calculus (the "Why are we doing this?") and then giving them in a very thoughtful (and non-intimidating) manner the full explanation of how to do it. It was ahead of it's time, in that regard, and still enjoyable today. (Perhaps some KC and the Sunshine Band playing in the background while you read?).
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