Friday, January 23, 2015

New Calculus Textbooks from the MAA

Looking for a new calculus textbook? Check out these two just published by the MAA.

Calculus for the Life Sciences: A Modeling Approach
James L. Cornette and Ralph A. Ackerman

Available only as an ebook. PDF price: $35.00

Freshman and sophomore life sciences students respond well to the modeling approach to calculus, difference equations, and differential equations presented in this book. Examples of population dynamics, pharmacokinetics, and biologically relevant physical processes are introduced in Chapter 1, and these and other life sciences topics are developed throughout the text.

The ultimate goal of calculus for many life sciences students primarily involves modeling living systems with difference and differential equations. Understanding the concepts of derivative and integral is crucial, but the ability to compute a large array of derivatives and integrals is of secondary importance.

Students should have studied algebra, geometry and trigonometry, but may be life sciences students because they have not enjoyed their previous mathematics courses. This text can help them understand the relevance and importance of mathematics to their world. It is not a simplistic approach, however, and indeed is written with the belief that the mathematical depth of a course in calculus for the life sciences should be comparable to that of the traditional course for physics and engineering students.

College Calculus: A One-Term Course for Students with Previous Calculus Experience
Michael E. Boardman and Roger B. Nelsen

PDF price: $30.00 (will be available in print soon)

This textbook is for students who have successfully experienced an introductory calculus course in high school. College Calculus begins with a brief review of some of the content of the high school calculus course, and proceeds to give students a thorough grounding in the remaining topics in single variable calculus, including integration techniques, applications of the definite integral, separable and linear differential equations, hyperbolic functions, parametric equations and polar coordinates, L’Hôpital’s rule and improper integrals, continuous probability models, and infinite series. Each chapter concludes with several “Explorations,” extended discovery investigations to supplement that chapter’s material.

The text is ideal as the basis of a course focused on the needs of prospective majors in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). A one-term course based on this text provides students with a solid foundation in single variable calculus and prepares them for the next course in college level mathematics, be it multivariable calculus, linear algebra, a course in discrete mathematics, statistics, etc.

Friday, January 16, 2015

After JMM Book Sale: 25% off Books, 10% off eBooks

Thank you for attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, TX!

To show are appreciation, we are extending the meeting discount on MAA books. Enter the code JMM15SAL during checkout at the MAA Store to receive 25% off your book purchases. Hurry! This sale ends January 21.

Prefer an ebook? Visit the MAA eBooks Store and enter the code 1328851592 during checkout for 10% off  your order. Valid until January 31.

Friday, January 9, 2015

MAA Pavilion Events at JMM

In San Antonio, TX, for the Joint Mathematics Meetings? Don't forget to stop the MAA Pavilion (booths #816-837) in the exhibit hall and check out these book deals and events:

Grand Opening Reception
Saturday, January 10
12:15–5:30 p.m.

Stop by during the Grand Opening and join us for a light snack.

Euler Special

Back again! Pick up all five volumes of our Special Collector's Edition of the Euler Tercentenary Collection for only $40 (retail $129.75).

Barely Battered Books

Browse our Barely Battered Books section and pick up a gently used MAA book for only $8.00.

Calling all MAA Authors!

Don't forget to stop by and pick up your MAA Author Ribbon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

JMM 2015: Teaching Calculus with a Tablet

Attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, TX, this year? Join us for this MAA Special Session!

Teaching Calculus with a Tablet

Gwyneth Whieldon, Hood College

Integrating technology into the classroom has been a hot topic over the past decade but best practices in the use of tablets, phones, and laptops for mathematics education are still being developed. In this workshop, participants will have a chance to demo the MAA electronic textbook Calculus: Modeling and Application and see how a textbook designed specifically to be read and interacted with on a tablet can be integrated into their own classrooms. We will introduce several apps to supplement an electronic textbook (and, more generally, for use in a technology-based calculus course) and suggest techniques for introducing students to a calculus sequence very different from any math classes they have taken before.

Monday, January 12
Room 213B
Convention Center

Stop by the MAA Pavilion in the exhibit hall for more information.

Friday, December 19, 2014

MAA Books Beat: Knowing vs. Measuring: Doing the Scholarship

Written by Steve Kennedy, MAA Acquisitions Editor, Knowing vs. Measuring: Doing the Scholarship appears in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of MAA FOCUS.

Last winter I participated in the tenure review of a junior colleague, watched with interest as Miguel Cabrera defeated Mike Trout in a close American League Most Valuable Player contest, and read a draft version of Curtis Bennett’s and Jackie Dewar’s Doingthe Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Mathematics. It could just have been the temporal proximity of these experiences that led me to see analogies between them, but I think there are real connections.


First, and most frivolously, the baseball: There is a huge, fascinating, and contentious debate going on in baseball these days that we might characterize as traditionalists versus statheads. Even if you are not a baseball fan, you might know about this from the movie and book Moneyball.

Baseball players have traditionally been measured by their batting averages, home runs, and runs batted in. All of these are easy to count, have obvious meaning, and have value that is clear to even the most casual baseball fan. All are limited as a measure of what they ostensibly represent: the player’s contribution to his team winning the game.

For example, batting average is a rough proxy for the frequency at which a batter gets on base, but it does not count walks, or reaching base on an error; it values a single and a triple identically; and it ignores certain outs that achieve other (good) outcomes, such as advancing another baserunner.

None of these three stats cited even tries to measure baserunning skill, or the ability to reach base by walk or error, or defensive prowess.

A number of more advanced statistical measures of a baseball player’s performance are in use today. WAR, Wins Above Replacement, is one such. It attempts to measure the total (batting, defensive, baserunning) contribution of a player to his team’s success.

In 2012 Mike Trout, the young centerfielder for the Los Angeles Angels, posted a WAR score that was among the two dozen highest in modern baseball history. That is out of tens of thousands of individual seasons.

In the same season, Miguel Cabrera led the league in all three of the traditional statistics: batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. This is, in baseball lingo, called winning the Triple Crown. It had happened only 15 times previously in baseball history and not since 1967. Cabrera had a batting season among the best of all time, but he is a slow runner and not a very good fielder.

WAR (and other advanced statistical metrics that include baserunning and defense) rated Trout’s season as very strongly more valuable than Cabrera’s. The debate over the MVP award was widely portrayed as a battle between crusty, tradition-bound baseball old-timers against basement-dwelling, smart-aleck nerds.

Essentially the same thing happened in 2013. Cabrera dominated the old-fashioned offensive categories; Trout lead the league in WAR, again by a wide margin.