Zombies and Calculus

Colin Adams. Princeton Univ, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-691-16190-7
Romance! Danger! Calculus! Zombies! Adams (How to Ace Calculus), professor of mathematics at Williams College and humor columnist for The Mathematical Intelligencer, takes readers on an apocalyptic and educational adventure that’s also a Spielbergian sci-fi thriller. Craig Williams, math professor at a small, liberal arts college in bucolic western Massachusetts, learns of the zombie apocalypse when his star student succumbs to zombie bites in the middle of class. Williams and a handful of hardy souls band together to escape. Baseball bats and golf clubs are handy for beating down zombie attackers, but the key to survival turns out to be... calculus. In the best classic hard sci-fi style, Adams mixes action with valuable math concepts—from determining the best routes for evading zombies to working out how fast the virus could spread. The book is best for readers already somewhat familiar with calculus. Adams keeps the in-story math both appropriate and accessible, saving in-depth discussion for appendices at the end. Calculus fans looking for “real-world” applications woven into a nail-biter of a story, chock-full of narrow escapes, betrayals, some plucky kids, the family dog, and even a romantic subplot, will delight in this fun, and funny pop-math book. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4008-5201-7
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-691-17320-7
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