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The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life while Corresponding about Math [Kindle Edition]

Steven Strogatz
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

An intimate view of mentorship is revealed by US mathematician Steven Strogatz in The Calculus of Friendship, a compilation of letters exchanged with his high-school math teacher over 30 years. Through their correspondence they share problems in calculus, chaos theory and major life events, from professional and sporting successes to family bereavements and divorce. The book touchingly charts their changing roles and relationship, from student to professor, teacher to retirement. -- "Nature The spring of his freshman year in college, Strogatz began to exchange letters with his high school calculus teacher, Don Joffray. At some point, their amiable correspondence about math problems led to a true friendship. In The Calculus of Friendship, Strogatz weaves their letters into reflections on the philosophical similarities between calculus and human relationships and portrays a friendship firmly founded on a love of dreaming up and solving calculus problems ... One can also feel the personality and humor of these pen pals emerging through their symbol-sprinkled sentences. -- "Science Part biography, part autobiography and part off-the-beaten-path guide to calculus, this quick read details 30 years of correspondence between Strogatz and Joffray. Calculus, Isaac Newton's ingenious invention for modeling change mathematically, serves as both text and subtext for the letters that pass between Strogatz and Joff. Focusing almost exclusively on questions of mathematics, these brief notes frame the unlikely friendship of a teacher and his star student. With the precision of an award-winning mathematician and the clarity of a best-selling science author, Strogatz leads us on an excursion through some of the lesser-known mathematical sights--the ones usually reserved for the 'members only' tour... The mathematics covered in these letters is impressive for such a short volume. -- "American Scientist There is no better English-language explicator of complex quantitative concepts than Steven Strogatz. His work is a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized. -- Michael Schrage, Harvard Business Review This story will draw in both the novice and the veteran. Teachers of mathematics will appreciate the long-term effect their teaching can have on students. The included mathematics can be related to both high school and undergraduate calculus sequences to demonstrate some interesting, thought-provoking, and 'big picture' connections to these courses. -- "Mathematics Teacher [A] beautiful book, bound to become a classic in the mathematical literature... Like Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology, you don not have to know any mathematics whatsoever to read this book. It is a candid and all-too-human story told with brutal honesty, warts and all, sharing with the reader the elation and sincere regrets bound up in the relationship--but in the end, the victories, too. With some beautiful mathematics throughout! -- Lawrence S. Braden, Notices of the American Mathematical Society You wouldn't guess it from the title, but The Calculus of Friendship is a genuine tearjerker. I defy anyone to follow the correspondence between mathematician Steven Strogatz and his high school teacher Don Joffray (affectionately nicknamed 'Joff') without getting just a little lachrymose. If you don't, check to see if there is a heart in your chest. If there is, ensure that it's not just a cold slab of stone. -- "Bookslut The story of the correspondence between these two men is at once charming and subtly powerful. Strogatz writes directly and honestly, telling the story of a slow-growing friendship that was at once somewhat stilted and yet deep and sustaining. The immediacy and intimacy of Strogatz's writing transform the pleasures and tragedies of normal life into the elements of a compelling narrative, and because the book works so well on this human level, it also very effective in presenting some important lessons about education and about mathematics. -- "Mathrecreation blog

Pressestimmen

An intimate view of mentorship is revealed by US mathematician Steven Strogatz in The Calculus of Friendship, a compilation of letters exchanged with his high-school math teacher over 30 years. Through their correspondence they share problems in calculus, chaos theory and major life events, from professional and sporting successes to family bereavements and divorce. The book touchingly charts their changing roles and relationship, from student to professor, teacher to retirement. -- "Nature The spring of his freshman year in college, Strogatz began to exchange letters with his high school calculus teacher, Don Joffray. At some point, their amiable correspondence about math problems led to a true friendship. In The Calculus of Friendship, Strogatz weaves their letters into reflections on the philosophical similarities between calculus and human relationships and portrays a friendship firmly founded on a love of dreaming up and solving calculus problems ... One can also feel the personality and humor of these pen pals emerging through their symbol-sprinkled sentences. -- "Science Part biography, part autobiography and part off-the-beaten-path guide to calculus, this quick read details 30 years of correspondence between Strogatz and Joffray. Calculus, Isaac Newton's ingenious invention for modeling change mathematically, serves as both text and subtext for the letters that pass between Strogatz and Joff. Focusing almost exclusively on questions of mathematics, these brief notes frame the unlikely friendship of a teacher and his star student. With the precision of an award-winning mathematician and the clarity of a best-selling science author, Strogatz leads us on an excursion through some of the lesser-known mathematical sights--the ones usually reserved for the 'members only' tour... The mathematics covered in these letters is impressive for such a short volume. -- "American Scientist There is no better English-language explicator of complex quantitative concepts than Steven Strogatz. His work is a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized. -- Michael Schrage, Harvard Business Review This story will draw in both the novice and the veteran. Teachers of mathematics will appreciate the long-term effect their teaching can have on students. The included mathematics can be related to both high school and undergraduate calculus sequences to demonstrate some interesting, thought-provoking, and 'big picture' connections to these courses. -- "Mathematics Teacher [A] beautiful book, bound to become a classic in the mathematical literature... Like Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology, you don not have to know any mathematics whatsoever to read this book. It is a candid and all-too-human story told with brutal honesty, warts and all, sharing with the reader the elation and sincere regrets bound up in the relationship--but in the end, the victories, too. With some beautiful mathematics throughout! -- Lawrence S. Braden, Notices of the American Mathematical Society You wouldn't guess it from the title, but The Calculus of Friendship is a genuine tearjerker. I defy anyone to follow the correspondence between mathematician Steven Strogatz and his high school teacher Don Joffray (affectionately nicknamed 'Joff') without getting just a little lachrymose. If you don't, check to see if there is a heart in your chest. If there is, ensure that it's not just a cold slab of stone. -- "Bookslut The story of the correspondence between these two men is at once charming and subtly powerful. Strogatz writes directly and honestly, telling the story of a slow-growing friendship that was at once somewhat stilted and yet deep and sustaining. The immediacy and intimacy of Strogatz's writing transform the pleasures and tragedies of normal life into the elements of a compelling narrative, and because the book works so well on this human level, it also very effective in presenting some important lessons about education and about mathematics. -- "Mathrecreation blog

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2 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Ein seltsames Buch 8. September 2010
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
das mich enttäuscht hat. Der Autor kann sich nicht entscheiden: Will er uns sagen, dass er selbst ein toller Hecht ist? Geschenkt! Will er eine Aufgabensammlung von witzigen Denksportaufgaben geben? Geschenkt! Will er seinem Lehrer ein Denkmal setzen? Das genau schafft er nicht! Schade. Eine verpasste Chance.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  23 Rezensionen
32 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful book. 2. September 2009
Von Michael R. Steele - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is an absolutely beautiful book about the relationship through letters of a high school math teacher and one of his students who becomes a world class mathematician. It's about their lives and the mathematics that bound them together. I have read quite a few memoirs and don't recall any that choked me up like this one did, I want to thank Dr. Strogatz for being so open. Also, the math in the book is very interesting and well explained, if I could give if more than five stars I would.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A very interesting book 11. November 2009
Von Foolish Reader - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a very interesting book about the relationship between a high school student and teacher that extends long after the student has graduated. Because both student and teacher are math teachers, the correspondence between them frequently revolves aroung math problems that interest them, but it includes much more than that. Not being mathematically inclined whatsoever, I skipped over all the math, and found it a touching story. For those interested in the math too, it will be a double treat.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Goind home 5. Februar 2010
Von Virginia Norris Exton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Full disclosure: Don Joffray, about whom this book was written, was a great friend of my parents so I knew him as much more than a teacher. The great thing about this book is that the author, Steve Strogatz, paints an accurate, empathetic picture of Joff the man & Joff the teacher, and also weaves a compelling story about the enduring friendship between two math geeks (I say this with admiration). I am not a math major so some of the calculations went beyond my meager understanding, but that didn't matter. Even the math conversations replicated in the book were glimpses into the continuum of a student/teacher realtionship. Very cool!- V. Norris
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Calculus in Life 11. November 2009
Von Wu Bing - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Written by a Math Prof @ Cornell University, it is on Calculus, not in the dry formal math textbook way, but via a life story and many correspondences with his retired high-school math teacher, who helped the author overcome his fear of "epsilon-delta" in Calculus lesson at high-school.

Also in this book the author gave the working example of Feynman's "Differentiate under Integral" trick, not shown in the original book "Are you Joking, Mr. Feynman" where Feynman mentioned he self-paced the "secret weapon" from the "Advanced Calculus" (Woods).

I recommended this book to our local National Library to procure 10 copies for general public's reading. It is a shame if they don't, this book is an excellent reading for curious nonmathematicians.
27 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen An Uninspiring Book 13. Juli 2010
Von Coach K - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I am clearly in the minority, but this book did not inspire me at all. Simply put, it seems as though the author was writing a story that was not compelling in the least, not as a book of friendship, nor as a book of mathematics. It was a story that seemed forced -- that is, it was made out to be more that it really was.

To review, Strogatz had Joff as a teacher in high school, and was uninspired by him. Nevertheless, they corresponded a few letters over the next few years of mathematical content, discovering or rediscovering various mathematical proofs (these proofs form the bulk of the book). Then, for many decades, Strogatz all but ignored his teacher's letters, while he got married and set out on his own path as a mathematician. Later, with some remorse, he began to write back again, and then visited Joff in what seemed a rather uneventful visit. Strogatz concluded after that visit that after all these years, he finally realized what he has to thank Joff for --- that "he let me teach him".
This is a friendship?

I didn't find their friendship to be a meaningful one at all. The tone throughout the book by Strogatz was one of condescension toward his teacher - that he was not the mathematician that Strogatz had become. The author's ego made it a somewhat uncomfortable read -- we get it -- you are very smart.

Perhaps this level of friendship is one that some mathematicians would consider meaningful. I didn't find it inspiring in the least.
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