Start this year the right way
New year’s time is usually a time to make some new year’s resolutions. I won’t do it and instead this year for me at least will be solely focused on applied mathematics. Math topics interest me for a long time. But I never took it seriously to invest quality time into studying advanced math topics with enough detail. This year will be different. The plan is to start from some quite general books on math that try to approach the topic in an engaging way like Measurement book by Paul Lockhart and slowly transitioning to more technical books for applied mathematics like Elements of Applied Mathematics by Zeldovich and Myskis and Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos by Steven H. Strogatz.
A little bit about the books
Why these three books you may wonder? Actually, there are four books I want to focus on. What is so specially about these books is the fact that they do not simply talk about one specific field in math with a very narrow focus on the subject, but like Donald Knuth’s The Art Of Computer Programming volumes approach the subject in a more general way without being fearful to delve in fields of physics, engineering, biology etc.
To summarize the books are:
Measurement by Paul Lockhart which tries to show math as an engaging activity that resembles arts, such as music, painting where there is a place for creativity, a joy of new discoveries or a pain of being stuck trying to get a solution.
Elements of Applied Mathematics by Zeldovich and Myskis which is an old book, but it’s still relevant today, at least in many parts of it, as it was back in 1972. As authors themselves put in the foreword of the book
So our advice is: read our book and study it. But even if there is not time enough to make a deep study, then merely read it it like a novel, and it may be just the thing you will need for solving some difficult problem.
Mathematical Understanding of Nature: Essays on Amazing Physical Phenomena and Their Understanding by Mathematicians by Vladimir Arnold. This book is a collection of applied math problems that were drawn from various fields such as physics, engineering etc.
Note: If you’re capable of reading in Russian then this book is available in full for free here.
And finally there is the voluminous Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos by Steven H. Strogatz that makes me feel better by having hundreds of differential quotations.
Note: The older edition of this book is available for free, for example, here.
A unique feature of the book is its emphasis on applications. These include mechanical vibrations, lasers, biological rhythms, superconducting circuits, insect outbreaks, chemical oscillators, genetic control systems, chaotic waterwheels, and even a technique for using chaos to send secret messages.
Now is the best time to start
This paragraph is dedicated to myself and possibly you. Remember that now is the best time to start doing what you wanted, but postponed ad infinitum. So start by taking small steps to big results later. Or at least to having satisfaction from solving some non-trivial tasks and applying a new skill to real life problems.