The Siren Call of Calculus A Review of Steven Strogatz’s Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe
I hate calculus. Which is a lie: I secretly love it. I enjoy teaching it, drawing intricate diagrams of where the definition of the derivative comes from, stumping my students on convoluted trigonometric integrals with solutions dependent on partial fractions, hammering mnemonics for the derivative rules—all the joys of teaching calculus. And I enjoyed learning it, too. Well, not failing it the first time, but after that. I long for my undergraduate time spent in the reading room of Rutherford South re-arranging integrals à la Fubini’s Theorem, the massive lecture halls of anxious engineering students copying every stroke of chalk from the front, and the arithmetic errors costing me scores of marks from my tests. A calculus course presents the liturgy of undergraduate mathematics: students and instructors alike gather, willfully or otherwise, to engage in the ritualistic celebration of the mysteries of the infinite.
"The Siren Call of Calculus A Review of Steven Strogatz’s Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe,"
The Mathematics Enthusiast: Vol. 20
, Article 19.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/tme/vol20/iss1/19
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
University of Montana, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library