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Zombies and Calculus
Colin Adams

Paperback | 2016 | $18.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691173207
Hardcover | 2014 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691161907
240 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 47 line illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400852017 |
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Part 1: Why we can't finish the zombies off.

Part 2: Escaping zombies in hot pursuit.

How can calculus help you survive the zombie apocalypse? Colin Adams, humor columnist for the Mathematical Intelligencer and one of today's most outlandish and entertaining popular math writers, demonstrates how in this zombie adventure novel.

Zombies and Calculus is the account of Craig Williams, a math professor at a small liberal arts college in New England, who, in the middle of a calculus class, finds himself suddenly confronted by a late-arriving student whose hunger is not for knowledge. As the zombie virus spreads and civilization crumbles, Williams uses calculus to help his small band of survivors defeat the hordes of the undead. Along the way, readers learn how to avoid being eaten by taking advantage of the fact that zombies always point their tangent vector toward their target, and how to use exponential growth to determine the rate at which the virus is spreading. Williams also covers topics such as logistic growth, gravitational acceleration, predator-prey models, pursuit problems, the physics of combat, and more. With the aid of his story, you too can survive the zombie onslaught.

Featuring easy-to-use appendixes that explain the book's mathematics in greater detail, Zombies and Calculus is suitable both for those who have only recently gotten the calculus bug, as well as for those whose disease has advanced to the multivariable stage.

Colin Adams is professor of mathematics at Williams College and the author of many books, including How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide. He is also the humor columnist for Mathematical Intelligencer.


"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. . . . 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."--Publishers Weekly starred review

"The author didn't intend to write a classic horror novel, he intended to write one that explained the ideas of calculus and differential equations (particularly the latter) in a humorous and unusual setting. He has succeeded admirably. This is a book that can be enjoyed by both students and by faculty members seeking a way to spice up their lectures."--Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews

"You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll use calculus! So much for kids who say, 'When am I ever going to use calculus?' When you're trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, that's when."--Nancy Szokan, Washington Post

"A fun idea, quite well realized."--M.A.Orthofer, Complete Review

"The book well deserves attention from not squeamish math instructors and a wider audience of intelligent readers, curious of a new literary genre that mixes storytelling with gentle mathematical instruction."--Alexander Bogomolny, CTK Insights

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Table of Contents:

Introduction 1
CHAPTER 1 Hour 6 3
CHAPTER 2 Hour 7 19
CHAPTER 3 Hour 7 1/2 32
CHAPTER 4 Hour 7 3/4 48
CHAPTER 5 Hour 8 63
CHAPTER 6 Hour 9 80
CHAPTER 7 Hour 10 95
CHAPTER 8 Hour 18 111
CHAPTER 9 Hour 24 137
Epilogue 152
APPENDIX A Continuing the Conversations 155
APPENDIX B A Brief Review of Calculus as Explained to Connor by Ellie 191
Acknowledgments 223
Bibliography 225
Index 227

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