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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Delivery

During my senior year of high school, I took pre-calculus. My homeroom teacher was the excellent instructor. Most Monday nights, my friend Greg came over to study with me. Our exams were on Tuesdays, and we could make one notecard to use during the each test. They were graded and returned to us in Thursdays with a number in the upper left corner, the rank of your score in comparison to that of the other 80+ students. The guys in my class (who generally did not study much) joked that the person with the highest number would be president of the math club for the coming week. Greg and I were always quiet about our single-digit scores, glad to be numbers one and two most of the time.

Yesterday, two books arrived in the mail, taking me back to those days of ranked scores. My friend Bernard (who took calculus at the university that year from his professor father) has written calculus textbooks and sent our family the latest edition. He is also the author of climbing guides for Rocky Mountain Natuonal Park and now this latest for St. Vrain Canyons. He is an engaging writer and excellent at description. So, this afternoon I began reading Calculus for Scientists and Engineers: Early Transcendentals. Armed with a composition book, I am motivated to restart my own calculus journey (halted 28 years ago when I did not need it for graduation). Interspersed between pages are notes from Bernard about things we should know, making me smile as much as the letters he and I exchanged every summer while their family lived in Estes Park during middle school. 

I love the definition in the first page.

"Calculus is the study of functions, and because we use functions to describe the world around us, calculus is a universal language for human inquiry." 


  1. I admire your math love. I, too, took precalc in HS, and loved listening to our interesting teacher explain the functions. But when i got home and attempted homework, all his lovely explanations had fled from my brain! I still am nervous around math.

  2. Math, I have a complex relationship with Math. But I do like adding numbers in my head...Calculus; Shiver! What a nice relationship with your former fellow Math Phenom friend. You must be very proud of him & of you both!