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It’s a Nonlinear World

Richard H. Enns
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Springer Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics and Technology
[Reviewed by
Lakshmi Chandrasekaran
, on

It’s a Nonlinear World is a fascinating collection of problems from many different areas including sports, physics, chemistry, biology and much more where mathematics can be used to provide illuminating solutions. This book very clearly indicates the role of nonlinearity in problems occurring in the real contemporary world.

The first chapter starts off with an introduction to nonlinear systems and then is followed by many interesting mathematical concepts in continuous and discrete dynamical systems including phase plane analysis, bifurcations and Lyapunov exponents. Part II deals with several relevant applications of these concepts in fields including sports, weather prediction, and pathology.

Some of the techniques used to discuss problems in one section could be applicable to problems in other fields as well. For instance, the section on chemical oscillators discusses ordinary differential equation models to study chemical reactions giving rise to the oscillations. Similar analysis holds good for solving oscillatory problems arising in neuroscience where the neurons in the brain are often modeled as oscillators by mathematical biologists.

Every chapter is followed by an exercise section where there are multiple problems which extend some of the ideas discussed in the chapters. In general, this book assumes a basic working knowledge of differential equations but requires the reader to be good at calculus. This book can be used for an advanced undergraduate or a graduate course on applied mathematics.

Lakshmi Chandrasekaran ( is a postdoctoral fellow at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. She works in Mathematical and  Computational Neuroscience. Whenever she has some free time she like to read pretty much anything and to listen to music.