F F P Bisacre - Applied calculus

In 1921 Frederick Francis Percival Bisacre's Applied calculus; an introductory textbook was published by Blackie and Son. The book consisted of 446 pages and was reviewed in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society:

It is not in general the policy of the Bulletin to review elementary textbooks on the calculus. In the present instance, however, it seems desirable to make an exception and to give a brief notice to Mr Bisacre's text. It differs in several particulars from the usual elementary textbook. Its avowed intention is to provide an introductory course in the calculus for the use of students in the natural and applied science whose knowledge of mathematics is slight. The author does not presuppose anything beyond elementary algebra, trigonometry, geometry and graphs. In particular no previous course in analytic geometry is presupposed. The first part of the text as far as its selection of material is concerned does not differ very greatly from the ordinary textbook. It is, however, distinguished by a remarkable vividness of presentation. The author uses a quotation from the Merchant of Venice, for example, to illustrate the notion of units and large and small quantities, in particular the notion of allowable error, etc. In the latter part of the text, the selection of material, however, differs widely from the conventional. There is a chapter of thirty-two pages on problems in electricity and magnetism, a chapter of twenty-one pages on problems in chemical dynamics and a chapter of sixty-five pages on problems in thermodynamics. The treatment is remarkably accurate and rigorous considering its elementary character. Its interest is further enhanced by biographical notes and portraits of mathematicians who have contributed to the development of the calculus and to the physical theories covered.

It is doubtful whether the book could be advantageously used in courses on the calculus in this country and yet it is not at all clear that some schools of applied science or technology might not find it distinctly available in their work.

J W Young


JOC/EFR November 2007

The URL of this page is:
http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Bisacre_Applied_Calculus.html