Math books and more books on math
Following the path of applied mathematics and popular science with math inclination I want to bring to your attention a couple of books that some of you may find helpful if not insightful.
Oliver Heaviside’s Maxwell’s Equations
Actually, I would rather start from a book which is an amalgam of history and mathematical physics in one and it’s a book about the self-taught mathematical physicist Oliver Heaviside who brought to you the so called Four Maxwell’s equations.
The book is Oliver Heaviside: The Life, Work, and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age written by Paul J. Nahin an emeritus prof. of Electrical Engineering in University Of New Hampshire which we’ll return to later in the post. What is interesting about the books is that it has a right amount of math for readers who are interested not only to know who Oliver Heaviside was, but also what he did as a physicist and engineer.
Okay, the books
While reading very interesting Applied Mathematics book by David J. Logan (3rd edition, Ch. 4.4 Green’s Functions, p. 253)
I was, as always, diverged by the mentioning of the Heaviside Step function in the text that I felt an urgent surge to check a biography of this incredible person and, lo an behold, I was able to find the Paul Nahin’s book mentioned above and also quite interesting and short article in the Physics Today magazine Oliver Heaviside: A first-rate oddity
David J. Logan
Having mentioned, David Logan I should say that I am reading the 3rd edition of his book, which is available in Scribd if you have a membership there, and even for free for 30 days trial period. It is always possible to buy the 4th edition, but the price is, quite frankly, astronomical.
Applied Mathematics 4th edition by David J. Logan. What I like about this book is the detailed examples that help you understand the content of the book better, but even more I like the way David Logan explains the physical rational behind the differential equations. It helps very much to know how and why this or that math technique is applied in practice. In addition, another applied mathematician Mark H. Holmes book’s is also mentioned by David Logan which you also may find useful.
Paul J. Nahin
Now that’s get back to Paul Nahin. It turn’s out he produced a whole series of books on Physics, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science which can be called popular, but actually are an essays full of wonderful applied mathematics. Paul is able to explain things in engaging and easy to understand manner. As people like to say, I wish I had come across his books earlier in my life, but it is what it is and it’s good that I was able to find them. Thanks to the Scribd digital library I was able to glimpsed through all of his books available there and I’d recommend to math inclined readers to check the following books.
In Praise of Simple Physics: The Science and Mathematics behind Everyday Questions will take you into the physics journey that you could have been missing since your school or collage years. Maybe, you weren’t able to understand it back then or had no time, but this time it will be different thanks to Paul’s ability to explain physics in an easy to grasp way.
And one additional book that I find quite impressing
Number-Crunching: Taming Unruly Computational Problems from Mathematical Physics to Science Fiction as all books by Paul J. Nahin this one draws examples from different areas of exact sciences and engineering that will keep you awake at night following the stories and trying to solve the puzzles yourself.
Mark H. Holmes
Remember, I’ve mentioned Mark H. Holmes so he also wrote a couple of books on applied math, and I’d recommend you to check his Introduction to Numerical Methods in Differential Equations which I find also very useful and a helper while reading aforementioned books on applied math. Unlike his Introduction to the Foundations of Applied Mathematics, which I find cryptic due to the lack of detailed examples, Introduction to Numerical Methods has quite a few of them. This makes the book kind of easy to digest.
Last, but not least
To make sense in this whole unfamiliar forest of applied mathematics there is a nice book that has all you need in one place classified and summarized to be your guidance on your quest to master the math and apply it for good. It is