Books : reviews

David Acheson.
From Calculus to Chaos: an introduction to dynamics.
OUP. 1997

What is calculus really for?

This book is a highly readable introduction to applications of calculus, from Newton’s time to the present day. These often involve questions of dynamics, i.e. of how and why things change with time. Problems of this kind lie at the heart of applied mathematics, physics, and engineering.

From Calculus to Chaos takes a fresh approach to the subject as a whole, by moving from first steps to the frontiers, and by highlighting the most important and interesting ideas, which can get lost amid a snowstorm of detail in conventional texts.

The book is aimed at a wide readership, and assumes only some knowledge of elementary calculus. There are exercises (with full solutions) and simple but powerful computer programs which are suitable even for readers with no previous computing experience.

David Acheson’s book will inspire new students by showing how remarkable and interesting the applications of mathematics can be.