Why not approach math from a posture of humility by exploring something that befuddled me half a life ago? Working through Diffy Q's can help me practice patience, temperance, and fortitude for I do recall flinging my algebra textbook across the room in junior high. I'll have to go to the edge of my own competency in math and relearn calculus. I ordered two calculus books available at Paperbackswap that I got for free using two swap credits: Calculus, Early Transcendentals and Calculus (College Review).
Why did I pick these books? They were available to me for free and folks at Amazon gave them decent reviews. Are they the best books about calculus? I have no idea. I'll let you know in a few months. Maybe years. While I waited for the books to arrive, I began working through Khan Academy's math mastery challenge. I've mastered 34% of the skills listed.
My original captain idea log has multiplied into four composition notebooks (grid style). I have one for calculus. Mason's thoughts on captain ideas have lead to three more logs:
“‘Scientific truths,’ said Descartes, ‘are battles won.’ Describe to the young the principal and most heroic of these battles; you will thus interest them in the results of science and you will develop in them a scientific spirit by means of the enthusiasm for the conquest of truth . . . How interesting Arithmetic and Geometry might be if we gave a short history of their principal theorems, if the child were meant to be present at the labours of a Pythagoras, a Plato, a Euclid, or in modern times, of a Descartes, a Pascal, or a Leibnitz. Great theories instead of being lifeless and anonymous abstractions would become living human truths each with its own history like a statue by Michael Angelo or like a painting by Raphael.”
This article on Euclid inspired the second notebook. I long to understand what Joshua Sturgill meant when he wrote, “When I think of Euclid, I think of a great story I want to finish reading. Euclid’s Elements has, beyond the numbers, a literary logic. I think this logic can perhaps best be described by the word ‘plot.’” I'm exploring other Greek mathematicians in the third and ancient mathematicians in the fourth.
To top it all off, I'm reading A History of π which I got for dirt cheap at a yard sale. I'm geting ready for Pi Day 2015, specifically 3/14/15 9:26:53. That date and time is so spectacular, it will take a whole year to prepare!