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Zombies and Calculus - Colin Adams

Zombies and Calculus

Paperback Published: 4th October 2016
ISBN: 9780691173207
Number Of Pages: 240

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How can calculus help you survive the zombie apocalypse? Colin Adams, humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer and one of today's most outlandish and entertaining popular math writers, demonstrates how in this zombie adventure novel.

Zombies and Calculus is the account of Craig Williams, a math professor at a small liberal arts college in New England, who, in the middle of a calculus class, finds himself suddenly confronted by a late-arriving student whose hunger is not for knowledge. As the zombie virus spreads and civilization crumbles, Williams uses calculus to help his small band of survivors defeat the hordes of the undead.

Along the way, readers learn how to avoid being eaten by taking advantage of the fact that zombies always point their tangent vector toward their target, and how to use exponential growth to determine the rate at which the virus is spreading. Williams also covers topics such as logistic growth, gravitational acceleration, predator-prey models, pursuit problems, the physics of combat, and more. With the aid of his story, you too can survive the zombie onslaught.

Featuring easy-to-use appendixes that explain the mathematics necessary to enjoy the book, Zombies and Calculus is suitable for recent converts to calculus as well as more advanced readers familiar with multivariable calculus.

About the Author

Colin Adams is the Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics at Williams College. His books include The Knot Book, Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories, and How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide. He is the humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer.

Industry Reviews

"Romance! Danger! Calculus! Zombies! Adams (How to Ace Calculus), professor of mathematics at Williams College and humor columnist for The Mathematical Intelligencer, takes readers on an apocalyptic and educational adventure that's also a Spielbergian sci-fi thriller... Adams keeps the in-story math both appropriate and accessible, saving in-depth discussion for appendices at the end. Calculus fans looking for 'real-world' applications woven into a nail-biter of a story, chock-full of narrow escapes, betrayals, some plucky kids, the family dog, and even a romantic subplot, will delight in this fun, and funny pop-math book."--Publishers Weekly starred review "The author didn't intend to write a classic horror novel, he intended to write one that explained the ideas of calculus and differential equations (particularly the latter) in a humorous and unusual setting. He has succeeded admirably. This is a book that can be enjoyed by both students and by faculty members seeking a way to spice up their lectures."--Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews "You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll use calculus! So much for kids who say, 'When am I ever going to use calculus?' When you're trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, that's when."--Nancy Szokan, Washington Post "A fun idea, quite well realized."--M.A.Orthofer, Complete Review "The book well deserves attention from not squeamish math instructors and a wider audience of intelligent readers, curious of a new literary genre that mixes storytelling with gentle mathematical instruction."--Alexander Bogomolny, CTK Insights "Whether you agree or disagree with the idea of mixing zombies with calculus, Adams is a craftsman of the first order. Zombies and Calculus has everything: calculus, calculation of force, statistics, normal deviation, word play, heroics, romance, slapstick, and zombies. Two bloody thumbs up!"--Robert Schaefer, New York Journal of Books "The unusual and clearly explained mathematical set-pieces are appealing... I will be recommending this book to colleagues. Let's hope they're not squeamish."--Noel-Ann Bradshaw, Times Higher Education "Adams combines mathematics and zombies in an exciting, humorous way... Zombies and Calculus would be a helpful supplemental text for a student currently studying calculus as it applies the concepts in a situation--however unrealistic--that makes it easier to understand."--Tara Creel, Deseret News "I have never met a novel in which the hero is actually teaching calculus to the ones he just rescued in between blowing out the little bit of brains from zombie heads, and smashing cars with a snow plough. Quite a reading experience."--Adhemar Bultheel, European Mathematical Society "Adams is clever to employ a zombie apocalypse scenario to demonstrate the usefulness of calculus and mathematics more broadly."--Carrie Bengston, Science Book A Day "Highly recommended for those just being introduced to calculus, or those who need a user-friendly recap of the basics. It may just help them survive--their education, that is, rather than a zombie attack!"--Rob Ashmore, Mathematics Today "Adams tells his tale with gore and humor. If you are a fan of zombies and enjoy offbeat applications of mathematics, this book is for you."--Joseph Bettina, Mathematics Teacher "I think that the book is very successful at doing what it was intended to do, namely to demonstrate the usefulness and relevance of what may seem at the first glance to be very abstract maths while teaching it in an engaging way. I would struggle to name another book that manages to couch the process of solving ODEs in quite so entertaining and humorous a manner."--Andrew Simmons, Mathematical Gazette

Introduction 1

CHAPTER 1 Hour 6 3

CHAPTER 2 Hour 7 19

CHAPTER 3 Hour 7 1/2 32

CHAPTER 4 Hour 7 3/4 48

CHAPTER 5 Hour 8 63CHAPTER 6 Hour 9 80CHAPTER 7 Hour 10 95CHAPTER 8 Hour 18 111

CHAPTER 9 Hour 24 137

Epilogue 152

APPENDIX A Continuing the Conversations 155

APPENDIX B A Brief Review of Calculus as Explained to Connor by Ellie 191

Acknowledgments 223 Bibliography 225

Index 227

ISBN: 9780691173207
ISBN-10: 0691173206
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 4th October 2016
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.03
Edition Number: 1

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