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Space Mathematics: Math Problems Based on Space Science
Publisher: Dover Publications (2012)
Details: 192 pages, Paperback
Topics: College Algebra, High School Mathematics, Mathematical Modeling, Pre-Calculus
MAA Review[Reviewed by Tom Schulte, on 12/29/2012]
This NASA-created collection of pre-calculus mathematical problems is set up in a workbook format. Problems are presented with solutions immediately following and some blank pages for computations. The space science “story problems” come mostly from high school and first-year undergraduate algebra, with contributions from geometry, probability, matrices, linear regression, trigonometry, and conic sections. For conic sections there are more interesting applications of eccentricity than I have seen in any textbook at the same level. These applications of eccentricity include transformation between polar and Cartesian coordinates as well as orbital velocity.
While this text can be illustrative for high school students and a good resource for teachers, this can also serve as a review of fundamentals for undergraduates majoring in science and engineering fields. Too broad in scope to be a textbook, it can serve as a helpful adjunct over several pre-calculus courses in mathematics and physics. On the teaching side of the podium, I have already found it a helpful place to draw from for supplemental and engaging class material.
Tom Schulte teaches mathematics at Oakland Community College in Michigan and is a software engineer at Plex Systems.