In recent years more and more colleges and universities have been introducing calculus courses specifically for students in the life sciences. This reflects a growing recognition that mathematics has become an indispensable part of any comprehensive training in the biological sciences.
Our chief goal in writing this textbook is to show students how calculus relates to biology. We motivate and illustrate the topics of calculus with examples drawn from many areas of biology, including genetics, biomechanics, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, ecology, epidemiology, and evolution, to name a few. We have paid particular attention to ensuring that all applications of the mathematics are genuine, and we provide references to the primary biological literature for many of these so that students and instructors can explore the applications in greater depth.
We strive for a style that maintains rigor without being overly formal. Although our focus is on the interface between mathematics and the life sciences, the logical structure of the book is motivated by the mathematical material. Students will come away from a course based on this book with a sound knowledge of mathematics and an understanding of the importance of mathematical arguments. Equally important, they will also come away with a clear understanding of how these mathematical concepts and techniques are central in the life sciences, just as they are in physics, chemistry, and engineering.
The book begins with a prologue entitled Mathematics and Biology detailing how the applications of mathematics to biology have proliferated over the past several decades and giving a preview of some of the ways in which calculus provides insight into biological phenomena.
There are two versions of this textbook. The first, Biocalculus: Calculus for the Life Sciences, focuses on calculus, although it also includes some elements of linear algebra that are important in the life sciences. An alternate version entitled Biocalculus: Calculus, Probability, and Statistics for the Life Sciences contains all of the content of the first version as well as three additional chapters titled Descriptive Statistics, Probability, and Inferential Statistics (see Content on page xviii).