Oscar E. Fernandez
Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us
Princeton University Press 2014
The book discussed in this interview is Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us (Princeton University Press, 2014) by Oscar E. Fernandez, who teaches mathematics – and calculus in particular – at Wellesley College. While it can be read by someone who wants to obtain a sense of what calculus is and how it’s used, it is even more enjoyable and enlightening if the reader has taken the first semester of a calculus course. The author takes the reader through a day in the author’s life, during which things one typically encounters – stock price quotations, cooling cups of coffee, getting good seats at a movie – afford an opportunity to investigate how calculus explains these everyday occurrences. Fernandez also introduces some instances where calculus has totally unexpected applications to our lives – why our GPS system relies upon Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and why we obtain electricity via alternating current rather than direct current. Everyday Calculus should not only add to the appreciation of calculus by those who have studied the subject, the book will hopefully persuade readers unfamiliar with calculus to take a course in it.