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Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket.

Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down‑to‑earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number—infinity—to tackle real‑world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous.

As Strogatz proves, calculus is truly the language of the universe. By unveiling the principles of that language,

STEVEN STROGATZ is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. A renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians, he has blogged about math for the

Featured on NPR's Science Friday

“Marvelous . . . an array of witty and astonishing stories . . . to illuminate how calculus has helped bring into being our contemporary world and so many of the instruments whose role we now blithely assume.”

“Fortunately, we live in an era when a top mathematician can write a book about calculus that is accessible to the mathematically challenged...it is the historical detail in the book that not only allows me to follow the math by taking me through how it was discovered, but also sticks in my mind. [Strogatz] makes me want to get out a textbook and start studying calculus.”

“Wonderful . . . bringing the insights of calculus

“I've never read a clearer explanation of calculus or the significant powers we gained by harnessing infinity. Michael and I highly recommend it!”

“Fascinating anecdotes abound in

“A brilliant, appealing explanation of how calculus works and why it makes our lives so much better.”

“Strogatz does a great job of explaining a difficult subject . . . he lays out the case that calculus is fundamental to the way we live today . . . a solid choice for readers who want to know what calculus is all about, and for teachers who wish to improve their presentation.”

“An energetic effort that successfully communicates the author’s love of mathematics.”

“Far-ranging survey . . . clear and accessible . . . Strogatz successfully illuminates a notoriously complex topic and this work should enhance appreciation for the history behind its innovations."

“A tale of how mathematics has changed all of our lives… Strogatz is a terrific storyteller and patient teacher…. By bringing infinity down to earth… and coupling those stories with some periodic excursions back out to the stars,

“Are you one of those people who always said you’d someday learn calculus? Well, someday is here, thanks to Steven Strogatz’s wide-ranging, humane, thoroughly readable take on one of the greatest ideas our species has ever produced.”

“This is a glorious book. Steven Strogatz manages to unmask the true hidden wonder and delightful simplicity of calculus.

“If calculus is the language of the universe, then Steven Strogatz is its Homer. With verve, insight, and simplicity, he explains the deep ideas underlying one of humankind’s greatest intellectual achievements.

“Warning: this book is dangerous. It will make you love mathematics. Even more, there is a nonzero risk it will turn you into a mathematician.”

“In this tour de force, Steve Strogatz shares his love as well as his deep understanding of calculus and mathematics more generally. An elegant and ebullient book,

“This could be the most fascinating book I have ever read. If you have even the slightest curiosity about math and its role in this world, I implore you to read this amazing book. Every teacher, every student, and every citizen will be better for it.”

“Steven Strogatz is a world class mathematician and a world class science writer. With a light touch and razor-sharp clarity, he brilliantly filters his deep knowledge of calculus into an engaging epic that tells the remarkable story of a mathematical breakthrough that changed the world—and continues to do so.”

“The world is a big thing made of an infinite number of infinitely small things. That's the lesson of calculus, the most powerful mathematical technique ever invented. In this engaging book, Steven Strogatz illuminates the importance of calculus and explains its mysteries as only he can.”

“Reading

“A highly readable account of calculus and its modern applications—all done with the human touch.”