Monday, November 26, 2007

math review

It had been years since I last factored a polynomial. I had forgotten how to derive the quadratic formula. Clearly it was time for a math review. I picked up Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell from the Boulder Labs Library; it was just what I needed. The book by George F. Simmons zips through geometry, algebra, and trigonometry in about a hundred pages of amazingly complete and readable prose. Each section is independent of the others, so it is perfect for a quick review of any of the three topics alone. The book is sparsely populated with exercises, just enough to get a solid grasp of each topic. The exercises, as in any good math book, reveal insights beyond those illustrated in the text. I can't imagine a better tool for review, but the book probably wouldn't serve well as a first introduction to the subjects (except perhaps in the hands of the right teacher).