Monday, August 01, 2011

Amazon offers inexpensive downloads of textbooks to Kindle

Amazon is offering students the opportunity to rent many textbooks by downloading them onto Kindle for up to 80% off, link here. The cost of new textbooks has become a nettlesome problem for college students.

I remember carrying my textbooks in a brown leather briefcase, in the days before backpacks. In fact, we did not have lockers in high school in the 50s.

I have a few of my graduate school textbooks in mathematics lying around. Rudin’s “Real and Complex Analysis” from about 1965 (McGraw-Hill), starts out with a definition of the “exp” function (that is, e to the power of the number) as a series, and says it is the function undergirds all of mathematics. Mathematics texts – definition, lemma, theorem, proof, still look very densely written. What’s interesting is how much was known in the 1960s – almost everything (except how to solve the “four-color problem”) of algebraic topology.

1st Picture: Strong Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, site of the math department, at least in the 1960s when I earned an MA there.

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