Category Archives: Introductions

Status report

Hello --

No new math today, but some updates:

  • I'd initially planned to run this blog from June through August. I did it, and it was fun. I took two weeks out to travel and think about what's next and I've decided to do it again. Here comes EarthCalculus Fall Semester edition!
  • I'm almost done with a decent draft of an e-book, Conceptual Climate Modeling for All. It cleans up and expands the notes I took at the MAA-NCS Summer Course on conceptual climate modeling. If you'd like to get a free copy in exchange for giving feedback, sign up for the email list on the right-hand side of the page. The email list is updated each night, rather than instantaneously, so you should get email the next day.
  • Speaking of the e-book, would you rather have a pdf file, an iBook, a Kindle version...? Why? Feel free to email me or leave a comment.
  • Since it's the beginning of the semester, I'll be putting up a more elementary worksheet on inverse functions in the next day or two. We'll go from there.

Approaching calculus through an earth-lens

Calculus is the study of 

  • the rate of change of quantities,
  • the net change of quantities, and
  • relations between quantities and their rate of change.

Our planet earth, too, is all about change: we see it in the weather, animal populations, even the height of mountains over time! With such a natural overlap in subject matter, the calculus of the mathematics of planet earth is ripe for more exploration.

In this summer blog, I'm planning to look at a few different stories:

  • the periodic fluctuations in the populations of arctic lemmings and snowshoe hares, and possible effects of climate instability
  • our atmosphere: you probably know that it's harder to get enough oxygen at the top of Mount Everest, but did you know we have a "gas leak"?
  • water: the most important resource for human existence and a major  factor in climate. How are we using water and what is the health of our aquatic ecosystems?

As we go, there will certainly be some side trips. I love learning about different things, and along the way I've discovered that chickens adjust their dry matter intake based on temperature and that ibuprofen in waterways is degraded by sunlight. Right there we've got an optimization problem and a related rates project! If you've got suggestions or comments, let me know via email or the comments below each post. My hope is that this blog will serve as a resource for instructors and provide a space for conversation for professors and teachers of calculus.

Hello world!

This is my first post. The blog celebrates the "year of the mathematics of planet earth" - 2013! The real thing will start up next week: stay tuned for posts on calculus and planet earth that you can use in your summer calculus classes.