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Fundamentals of Differential Equations

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Kent B. Nagle

Fundamentals of Differential Equations, Sixth Edition is designed for a one-semester sophomore or junior-level course. Fundamentals of Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, Fourth Edition, contains enough material for a two-semester course … see full wiki

Author: Kent B. Nagle
Publisher: Addison Wesley
1 review about Fundamentals of Differential Equations

A very good textbook, just not quite right for me

  • Jan 12, 2007
As an instructor at a small college, I am called upon to teach nearly every course in the mathematics curriculum. Therefore, I spend a great deal of time trolling for textbooks, as I never know from one year to the next what I will be teaching. I examined this book for possible adoption as a text for a single semester course in differential equations. My conclusion was that it is acceptable, but since it contains enough material for a two semester sequence, it must be assigned a rank lower than those that cover only a single semester.
However, I do strongly approve of the pedagogical approach taken by the authors. Their use of blue highlighting for the important formulas is eye-catching and effective. As I scanned through the book it was sometimes easier to determine the topic of a section by looking for the equations that were in blue. The exposition made the material easy to follow and the many worked and varied examples make the coverage complete.
I was also pleased to see the occasional theorem with proof. While courses in differential equations are largely, "give the technique(s), here is how to use it", it is still an upper division math course and an occasional proof is certainly reasonable and effective. The authors also include a short set of technical writing exercises at the end of the chapters and there are plenty of exercises with answers to the odd-numbered ones included in an appendix. While I don't think that I would ever make use of the technical writing exercises, I am sure that there are others who would take advantage of the opportunity.
In conclusion, even though I was impressed with this book, I doubt that I would adopt it. The differences between differential equation texts tend to be rather small, so the fact that this book is suitable for a two-semester sequence is enough for me to continue to look elsewhere.

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