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Jerrold E. Marsden and Anthony Tromba
Publisher: W. H. Freeman (2012)
Details: 752 pages, Hardcover
Topics: Vector Calculus
This book is in the MAA's basic library list.
MAA Review[Reviewed by William J. Satzer, on 12/11/2012]
This is the sixth edition of a popular advanced calculus text. It has been completely redesigned, yet retains the basic structure and approach of the earlier editions. Part of the appeal of the book has been the balance of its treatment across theory, applications, historical notes and optional material. That remains. What has been added are new examples, more exercises (with a clearer grading of difficulty) and improved artwork with significantly improved three-dimensional figures.
One of the reasons this book has been as successful is probably its focus on the average student. The authors have taken pains throughout to walk students through detailed explanations and worked-out examples, and then test their understanding with more routine exercises before presenting more challenging problems. Their object is simply to take a direct, fairly concrete path to teaching multivariable calculus without many detours. So, for example, instead of introducing the more abstract language of linear transformations the authors describe the derivative in terms of a matrix of partial derivatives.
The topics follow a traditional path, from the geometry of Euclidean space and the rudiments of matrix algebra to differentiation and integration in two and three dimensions. The book concludes with the theorems of Green, Gauss and Stokes, first presented in more traditional form and then in the language of differential forms. The authors handle basic theory cautiously. The treatment of limits and continuity is short and sweet, and more complicated proofs are made available at a companion web site. More sophisticated questions involving things like compactness or conditions for integrability are generally deferred to a later course.
The companion web site provides extensive “Additional Material”, almost a shadow textbook of more than a hundred pages, with theorems and proofs, more examples, historical material and advanced applications. This is a wonderful source of enrichment material. Besides providing rigorous proofs behind material in the main text, the additional material also provides supplementary exercises and some terrific excursions: the Korteweg-deVries equation, Principle of Least Action, the Sunshine formula (finding the position of the sun as a function of latitude and day of the year), and more.
The presentation, both in the main text and the supplementary material, is consistently attractive and the ideas are engaging. It offers the instructor a good deal of flexibility in tailoring a course to deal with a mix of student backgrounds and abilities.
Bill Satzer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior intellectual property scientist at 3M Company, having previously been a lab manager at 3M for composites and electromagnetic materials. His training is in dynamical systems and particularly celestial mechanics; his current interests are broadly in applied mathematics and the teaching of mathematics.
BLL* — The Basic Library List Committee recommends this book for acquisition by undergraduate mathematics libraries.