Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Watered down Calc?

  1. Jun 29, 2007 #1
    I have heard Calculus has been watered down quite a bit over the years and that leavesme worried. Currently in my Calc class I am using James Stewart calculus text book. But I really want to know Calc from the inside out. Will this suffice? Or should I pick up a copy of Apostol or Spivaik?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Of course, Stewart is not the whole story, but for a first course, there are far worse texts than Stewart!
  4. Jun 29, 2007 #3
    Is spiviak, apostol good for engineering/applied calc?
  5. Jun 29, 2007 #4
    real calculus = analysis
  6. Jun 29, 2007 #5
    But isn't it customary to take calc 1-3 then analysis?
  7. Jun 29, 2007 #6
    From what I've heard, Calculus I/II/III is sort of watered down compared to what it used to be a few years ago. I've also heard that you things you should learn in Calculus are pushed up to classes like Real Analysis, but maybe that's just my college...

    I've heard great things about spivak's calculus book but haven't used it personally.

    Also for Stewart's calculus book, he likes to do the hard things first, Trig Integrals, Integral Test for series. And then go into the easier things, partial fractions, comparison tests etc...

    But I do agree with quasar987 that there are alot worse texts out there hehe.
  8. Jul 1, 2007 #7
    What do you guy's think about Larson's text for Calc? I had been using Stewart's for Calc I & II, but now I'm at a different college using Larson's. I think I prefer Stewart's.
  9. Jul 1, 2007 #8
    I liked Larson's a lot. He provides the proof for pretty much everything(i.e. doesn't pull theorems out of his a-- like Stewart occasionally does). I like working through proofs as it can help solidify my understanding. But some people don't.. only you can decide for yourself :smile:.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  10. Jul 1, 2007 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    as i have said infinitely many times, courant has it all, rigor, applications, computations, insight, etc.....
  11. Jul 1, 2007 #10
    I've used Stewarts and Larsons over the years. For some things, I like the way Stewart approached it, the chapters on 3D coordinates and vectors completely changed the way I approach problem solving classes, but I find Larson profs to be more readable and easier for me to understand.

    As far as engineering goes, it depends on how far you intend to go. I've heard that to get a PhD in EE, you pretty much need to have a masters in math, so if you are going this route, you might be better served with a more rigorous text. If you are only getting a BS in engineering, Stewarts or Larson’s should be more then adequate.

    Either way, I always get at least 2 books for every subject I study so that I can get a different perspective on a subject if I need one. You would be amazed at how cheap you can get a brand new text book if it's not the latest edition. For instance, I needed a better circuit analysis book then my school used and took the advice of someone on this board. The fifth edition was going for $130 or so on amazon; I got the 4th edition, brand new, for $15 including shipping.
  12. Jul 1, 2007 #11
    I used stewarts calculusm 2nd edition. Nothing wrong with it. It teaches you what you need to know for physics/engineering. Obviously not if you want to be a math major, but im NOT a math major so I dont care about full blown 100% correct proofs.
  13. Jul 1, 2007 #12
    Yes I am an engineering student myself, but I like to be able to understand the material and be able to derive it myself. Math is is an awesome tool in enngineering, I would like to be able to master it.

    Anyways I just found and downloaded Apostol 2nd Edition: One-varible Calulus, with an Introduction to Linear Algebra. Looks awesome so far.
  14. Jul 1, 2007 #13
    Stewarts book has ample derivations throughout it. It is more than sufficient for what you need.
  15. Jul 2, 2007 #14
    stewart is excellent for engineering and applied math. but if you also like apostol, you should also consider pure math
  16. Jul 2, 2007 #15
    how about an isbn # or something ?
  17. Jul 2, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I agree. I used Stewart's 5th edition. I liked it alot and recommend it for science majors. Some of the proofs may not be rigorous but I think he explains things well.
  18. Jul 2, 2007 #17
    I never had a problem with Stewart. It's true that he (and by consequence, many professors who use him) focuses more on mechanics and technique as opposed to theory and abstract concepts. But, as goes without saying on a physics forum, we need to understand that non-mathematicians take calculus as well. For the sciences, Stewart covers pretty much everything you need. As for those of us who were math majors, we get to learn all of the advanced aspects of calculus in later courses. I wouldn't say that Stewart "waters down" calculus so much as he focuses on application rather than theory.
  19. Jul 2, 2007 #18
    Well said arumna!
  20. Jul 3, 2007 #19
    I don't have a problem wtih Stewart either, especially when I'm on a hurry--his textbooks seem much less "dense".
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook