2009-MallettFetbrandt-Differential Equations Class Notes

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Mallett, Travis and Josh Fetbrandt. Differential Equations Class Notes. Washington State University.

From the Dear Reader opening page of these notes,

“These notes were written by two students (Travis Mallett and Josh Fetbrandt) at Washington State University in Fall 2009 and are intended to be used with Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems (Second Edition) by John C. Polking. As we were studying differential equations using this book, we began to find it extremely dysfunctional in many respects. Its poor explanations and confusing structure made it very difficult to learn anything. In the end, we decided to write our own material (based on online lectures and other books) to make up for Polking's book. Although these notes were a direct response to this specific textbook, our work should be applicable to any standard differential equations class.

“We have abandoned many of the formal aspects of the traditional textbook but all of the information in these notes should be technically correct without the bore of mathematical formalities. We have also tried to obtain a good balance between the practical and theoretical. While the authors of our textbook waved their hands a lot and did not explain concepts, we have tried to rectify this by telling you not only how to use the equations but give explanations about why they work where appropriate. It was our intention to relate many of the concepts to things that should be intuitive to the reader. We feel that it is important to understand (from a gut-feeling level) what is going on. Otherwise many of these concepts drift into obscurity in our minds if they have no practical ramifications. Whether we actually accomplished all of these goals in our notes is another matter entirely. But we did our best under the circumstances (being in school and all).

“The notes should also be fun to read and we hope you enjoy them. We incorporated many wise-cracks and jokes into the material for entertainment. Although the humor really has no redeeming value, we hope it at least puts a smile on your face a few times to make up for the fact that you are doing differential equations of all things. We have certainly learned a lot from writing these notes and hope you find them useful as you embark on your study of differential equations.”

This is a refreshing book as it is from student perspective and as such has lots of connections between theory, technique, model, and application. It also has lots of step-by-step outline of approaches for solution techniques.

KEYWORDS: differential equation, model, growth, Laplace transform, techniques, variation of parameters, separation of variables, second order, first order

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Brian Winkel (2017), "2009-MallettFetbrandt-Differential Equations Class Notes," https://simiode.org/resources/4123.

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