Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book Review: Theory of Ordinary Differential Equations

Shame on Coddington and Levinson for smearing across 429 pages just enough mathematics to bore the typical slacker shmath student through about five undergraduate courses.

To his discredit, Coddington coddles the reader excessively. For example, on pg. 287, he makes the following Remark: "The only application of the results of this chapter will be for the case m = n, and therefore the reader may restrict himself to this case in what follows, if he desires." [Emphasis added. Sick, right?]

Levinson, too, waxes un-coshure with mathematical yeastiness in fluff like this on page 11: "However, as was pointed out after that proof, if the solution through the given point is known to be unique, then the original polygonal approximate solutions can be used to obtain the solution; no subsequence need be chosen." [Emphasis added. Levinson can go knead his own bread. I, on the other hand, like any self-respecting mathematician, am not about to neglect to choose a subsequence!]

Perhaps the authors' worst violation of the reader is their persistent refusal to accept responsibility for their actions, always instead failing to name the subject (and culprit) of each action described: "In the following a very useful method ... will be considered, and the existence of a solution will be deduced with it's aid." [Emphasis added. The tantalizing evasiveness brings to mind such titles as If I Did It.]


Blogger current typist said...

I never pass up a chance at choosing my own subsequence, either!

4:15 PM  

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