Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Learning Curve

From the Learning Curve:

Learning Curves: Honors: Multivariable Calculus: What textbook would you use to teach honors Calc 3?

Already rejected: Apostal for being too linear-algebra-y and Hurley for being out of print.

Too linear-alebra-y? How can a multivariable calculus textbook be too linear-algebra-y? Multivariable derivatives and integrals are linear maps in an algebra-like space, aren't they?


  • At 6:07 PM, Blogger cieran said…


    All of Apostol's books are excellent, as long as the student is up to the task (as they would be at Berkeley, or in any Honors program).

    As far as the notion of too-much linear algebra, multivariate calculus can't be taught properly without a good grounding in linear algebra, so that's a red herring.

    The gradient is a vector, the Hessian is a symmetric matrix, multivariate transformations inherit their local properties from the associated Jacobian matrices, etc., etc., etc. Linear algebra is an organic part of multivariate calculus, whether we like it or not!

    A Honors course in multivariate calculus that doesn't include a solid grounding in the relevant linear algebraic underpinnings does not merit the "honors" designation!

  • At 1:59 AM, Blogger sabera said…

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