Cover image for Calculus mysteries and thrillers
Calculus mysteries and thrillers
Woods, R. Grant.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : Mathematical Association of America, [1998]

Physical Description:
xix, 131 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA303 .W66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book is a collection of a dozen mathematics projects. These are typically novel, interesting and several levels more complex than those usually found in textbooks. The nature of the projects makes them suitable for group working. The problems involve such diverse concepts as Newton's method for approximating roots, inverse trigonometric functions and surface area integrals. Although ideas from economics and physics are used in the problems no prior knowledge of these fields is required.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Amongst the trends in "reform" calculus courses is the introduction of a writing component, the idea being that requiring students to effectively communicate mathematics to others reinforces their knowledge of the subject matter. Woods's volume contains 11 projects, each of which asks the student to play the role of mathematical consultant. For each project, a brief story introduces the mathematical problem at hand. The student is asked to solve the problem and submit a technical report communicating the solution to the "client." The problems can all be solved using techniques from a standard two-semester, single-variable calculus course. Included are some standard modeling problems from engineering and economics, some more imaginative ones such as how to slice a sphere into pieces of equal surface area, and one or two that are interesting but a bit contrived (ever see a billiards table with one side cushion in the shape of a perfect parabola?). Each project comes with a sample solution, suggesting that this is probably best used as an instructor's resource and not as a supplemental text. Lower-division undergraduates. D. S. Larson Gonzaga University

Table of Contents

1 The case of the parabolic pool-table
2 Calculus for climatologists
3 The case of the swivelling spotlight
4 Finding the salami curve
5 Saving lunar station Alpha
6 The case of the cooling cadaver
7 An income policy for mediocria
8 Designing dipsticks
9 The case of the gilded goose egg
10 Sunken treasure
11 The case of the alien agent
12 Solutions