Waterman, Gregg. 2014. Ordinary Differential Equations for Ordinary People.

By Brian Winkel


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Author: Waterman, Gregg

Date of Publication:  2014.

Title: Ordinary Differential Equations for Ordinary People

Location: http://math.oit.edu/~watermang/math_321/321_book_4-19-14.pdf

Accessed 16 August 2016.

This pdf text is very nicely written with “learning outcomes” and “performance criteria” in each section, chapter summaries, and many motivational examples and illustrations for science and engineering students.   There are section by section worked examples and applications, exercises and occasional “Theoretical concerns” subsections in the text which are good to think about. The author uses words that engineering students should be comfortable.

The Table of Contents is hot-linked to permit the reader to jump right to the desired section instead of scrolling. There is also a hot-linked index at the back of the book which enables readers to get immediately to what they are looking for. Even though there are not any deep physical derivations there are plausibility discussions and reality checks upon completion of a topic, e.g., the beam equation.

The author says, “This book is designed for engineering students rather than mathematics students, with an emphasis on the roles of parameters and initial/boundary conditions, and interpreting ODEs and their solutions physically whenever possible.”

This text deals only with ordinary differential equations topics and has no partial differential equations sections. However, there is a thorough section on boundary value problems.

The author has a web page for his differential equations course at Oregon Institute of Technology,

http://math.oit.edu/~watermang/math_321/321_index.html . Here, in addition to the complete text divided out by reasoned chapters, he lists many resource, MANY(!), for his students and anyone who visits his rich site. 

BTW in addition to his differential equations course the author has written a number of other on-line texts:  Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Introductory Linear Algebra, Mathematical Foundations, and Introductory Mathematical Probability.

The author has a YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2G5uTfYsTHhPGuX_JCj9Uw in which there are many worked examples and lessons. We list them here by name and number:  Laplace Transform (16), Linear Algebra (13), Ordinary Differential Equations (12), and Systems of Differential Equations (4).


Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Brian Winkel (2016), "Waterman, Gregg. 2014. Ordinary Differential Equations for Ordinary People.," https://simiode.org/resources/2679.

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