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Exploring Analytic Geometry with Mathematica

Donald L. Vossler, 1999, Academic Press. 865 pp., softbound, CD-ROM.

Vossler's Exploring Analytic Geometry with Mathematica is a hefty tome, but worth the bicep-building effort if you're interested in or use analytic geometry.

EAGM is designed for use as both a comprehensive textbook and a reference for analytic geometry. The subject is treated with extensive depth and breadth, making it a good volume for either use. The CD-ROM includes a Mathematica package for interactive geometric exploration, Descarta2D, which is useful as both a pedagogical and research tool. (The code is slightly DOS-centric. We had to make a small tweak to one of the included files in order to get it to work on the Macintosh.) 

All of the Mathematica code for Descarta2D is included in the printed book, an excellent reference for those who aren't especially fond of reading from the screen. Symmetrically, the entire book is included on the CD-ROM in both help-browser/notebook form and in PDF, making searching for specific information simple and fast. You get the best of both worlds: you can read, search, or explore using the format most appropriate for the job at hand. Further enhancing the online version is the liberal use of links, which makes it easier to "flip" through the electronic pages.

The writing is clear and concise. Layout and design are excellent, thanks in part to , as are the extensive number of illustrations, many produced with the assistance of Mathematica and Descarta2D's Sketch2D routine. The subject matter is treated well; subjects move smoothly from elementary geometry through conics, geometric functions, and tangent curves. Multiple examples are provided in each chapter, and the student can be further challenged by the dozens of "explorations" whose completed versions are available on the CD-ROM.

-- Flip Phillips

This book is available from The Mathematica Bookstore.

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