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The Cartoon Guide To Calculus

I always thought that there are no magic tricks that use calculus. Larry Gonick proves me wrong. His book is correct, clear and interesting. It is filled with magical insights into this most beautiful subject.

The Cartoon Guide to Calculus

A tour of calculus from the polymath whose illustrated guides have illuminated a wide range of subjects, from genetics and sex to the environment and the universe. This time out, unfortunately, Muse cartoonist Gonick's (The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 2, 2009, etc.) presentation is labored, the cartoons are primarily decorative and the course is tough. To begin with, calculus requires four years of high-school math, which the author reprises in the first 50 pages. For many readers this will be a slog through algebra, trigonometry, exponentials, function theory, etc. While most texts map equations onto lines or curves on a standard x-y axis, Gonick introduces parallel lines with arrows connecting an x value on one line to its f(x) value on the parallel line. This approach is particularly unhelpful when you want to visualize, say, minute changes of position (on the y axis) over time (on the x axis). Nor does the author discuss fundamental concepts like continuity or maxima and minima until well into the chapters on the derivative and differential calculus. While he does highlight fundamental theorems and classic rules, Gonick devotes too much space to how-to manipulations like how to differentiate inverse functions. The narrative improves when the author introduces the concept of the integral as the sum of skinny rectangles under a curve, and Gonick provides many helpful, practical examples of how calculus is used. This is no idiot's guide to math, but it could be useful as a supplement to a standard course in calculus.

I knew Larry Gonick did excellent illustrated histories, but I had no idea that he knew so much about math. (Although co-writing The Cartoon Guide to Statistics might have been a hint. Turns out he used to teach calculus at Harvard.)

Larry Gonick, master cartoonist, former Harvard instructor, and creator of the New York Times bestselling, Harvey Award-winning Cartoon Guide series now does for calculus what he previously did for science and history: making a complex subject comprehensible, fascinating, and fun through witty text and light-hearted graphics. Gonick's The Cartoon Guide to Calculus is a refreshingly humorous, remarkably thorough guide to general calculus that, like his earlier Cartoon Guide to Physics and Cartoon History of the Modern World, will prove a boon to students, educators, and eager learners everywhere.

Master cartoonist Larry Gonick has already given readers the history of the world in cartoon form. Now, Gonick, a Harvard-trained mathematician, offers a comprehensive and up-to-date illustrated course in first-year calculus that demystifies the world of functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals. Using clear and helpful graphics--and delightful humor to lighten what is frequently a tough subject--he teaches all of the essentials, with numerous examples and problem sets. For the curious and confused alike, The Cartoon Guide to Calculus is the perfect combination of entertainment and education--a valuable supplement for any student, teacher, parent, or professional.

"How do you humanize calculus and bring its equations and concepts to life? Larry Gonick's clever and delightful answer is to have characters talking, commenting, and joking-all while rigorously teaching equations and concepts and indicating calculus's utility. It's a remarkable accomplishment-and a lot of fun." -- Lisa Randall, Professor of Physics, Harvard University, and author of Knocking on Heaven's Door

Gonick is to graphical expositions of advanced materials as Newton or Leibniz is to calculus. The difference is that Gonick has no rival. -- Xiao-Li Meng, Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics and Department Chair, Harvard University

A creative take on an old, and for many, tough subject...Gonick's cartoons and intelligent humor make it a fun read. -- Amy Langville, Recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award at College of Charleston and South Carolina Faculty of the Year

Larry Gonick has been creating comics that explain math, history, science, and other big subjects for more than forty years. He has been a calculus instructor at Harvard (where he earned his BA and MA in mathematics) and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and he is currently staff cartoonist for Muse magazine. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Larry Gonick (born 1946) is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form, which he published in installments from 1977 to 2009. He has also written The Cartoon History of the United States, and he has adapted the format for a series of co-written guidebooks on other subjects, beginning with The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in 1983. The diversity of his interests, and the success with which his books have met, have together earned Gonick the distinction of being "the most well-known and respected of cartoonists who have applied their craft to unravelling the mysteries of science".[1]

From 1990 to 1997, Gonick penned a bimonthly "Science Classics" cartoon for the science magazine Discover. Each two-page comic discussed a recent scientific development, often one in interdisciplinary research.

In collaboration with Dr. Kausik S Das of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Gonick is currently developing concept-cartoon clicker questions for undergraduate physics students. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation.[7]

If you think that calculus is challenging, you're right, but it can still be approached if you have the right guides. Stepping in, the creators of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics will show you how to scale the dual peaks of Mount Derivative and Mount Integral, and from their summits, get a sense of how calculus relates to the rest of mathematics. Beginning with the problems of speed and area, Klein and Bauman show how the discipline is unified by a fundamental theorem. In the zany cartons here, we meet geniuses like Archimedes, Liu Hui, and Bonaventura Cavalieri, then trek onward and scramble through limits and extreme values, optimization and integration, and learn how calculus can be applied to many other disciplines.

1st printing. Written by Yoram Bauman. Art and cover by Kevin Cannon. The internationally bestselling authors of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics return to make calculus fun! The award-winning illustrator Grady Klein has teamed up once again with the world's only stand-up economist, Yoram Bauman, Ph.D., to take on the daunting subject of calculus. A supplement to traditional textbooks, The Cartoon Introduction to Calculus focuses on the big ideas rather than all the formulas you have to memorize. Softcover, 224 pages, B&W. Cover price $18.95.

The Cartoon Introduction to Calculus is my favorite calculus book ever. Written by Grady Klein and Yoran Bauman, Ph.D., the book is informative, interesting, and insanely funny. That is not an easy task considering the subject matter. I got a C in calculus as a university freshman, and although I understand the topic better today, I really wish this book had existed at the time.

If you have some calculus background and want to understand (introductory, frequentist) theoretical statistics, find a copy of Mood, Graybill and Boes, Introduction to the Theory of Statistics, 3rd. ed. It's old, but in my opinion, still better than any of the more "modern" treatments. But, it's a book for which you'll have to be comfortable with mathematical notation.

For a "modern" view of applied statistics and the interface between it and machine learning, along with good examples, and good intuition, then Hastie et al., Elements of Statistical Learning, is the most popular choice. Many people also tend to like Harrell's Regression Modeling Strategies, which is a solid book, though I'm apparently not quite as big of a fan as others tend to be. Again, in both cases, you'll need to at least be comfortable with some calculus, linear algebra, and standard math notation.

A cartoon to teach about one difficulty in conducting medical research compared to education research arising from problems in obtaining informed consent from subjects. Cartoon by John Landers ( based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites. 041b061a72


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