By golly, I wish I’d had this book as an undergrad.
As it was, I had to wait until this past January, at the ScienceOnline 2011 conference. These annual meetings in Durham, North Carolina feature scientists, journalists, teachers and students, all blurring the lines between one specialization and another, trying to figure out how the Internet can help us do and talk science. Lots of the attendees had books recently published or soon forthcoming, and the organizers arranged a drawing. We could each pick a book from the table, with all the books anonymized in brown paper wrapping. Greg “Dr. Skyskull” Gbur had brought fresh review copies of his textbook. Talking it over, we realized that if somebody who wasn’t a physics person got a mathematical methods textbook, they’d probably be sad. So, we went to the table and hefted the offerings until we found one which weighed enough to be full of equations, and everyone walked away happy.
The “we” includes me, because I scored a copy as well, and was in on the activity of sizing and weighing the anonymized books. There were probably more of these books than physicists (perhaps we can do better this year), though, so I imagine some species of biologist and/or journalist (statistically speaking) was disappointed.