Michael Spivak

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Michael David Spivak
Born (1940-05-25)May 25, 1940
Queens, New York
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics
Differential geometry
Spivak pronouns
Alma mater Princeton University
Doctoral advisor John Milnor
Known for The Hitchhiker's Guide to Calculus
Calculus on Manifolds: A Modern Approach to Classical Theorems of Advanced Calculus
A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry

Michael David Spivak (born May 25, 1940)[1] is an American mathematician specializing in differential geometry, an expositor of mathematics, and the founder of Publish-or-Perish Press. Spivak is the author of the five-volume A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry. In 1964 Spivak received a Ph.D. from Princeton University under the supervision of John Milnor.[2] In 1985 he received the Leroy P. Steele Prize.

Spivak was born in Queens, New York.[1]

Spivak has lectured on elementary physics.[3] Spivak's most recent book, Physics for Mathematicians: Mechanics I, which contains the material that these lectures stemmed from and more, was published on December 6, 2010.[4] Spivak is also the designer of the MathTime Professional 2 fonts which are widely used in academic publishing.[5]

Spivak coined Spivak pronouns, a set of English gender-neutral pronouns.[6]


Spivak's book Calculus takes a rigorous and theoretical approach to introductory calculus. It is used in calculus courses, particularly those with a pure mathematics emphasis, at many universities.[citation needed]

Spivak has also written The Joy of TeX: A Gourmet Guide to Typesetting With the AMS-TeX Macro Package and The Hitchhiker's Guide to Calculus. The book Morse Theory, by John Milnor, was based on lecture notes by Spivak and Robert Wells (as mentioned on the cover page of the booklet). Spivak's book Calculus on Manifolds is also rather infamous as being one of the most difficult undergraduate mathematics textbooks[according to whom?]. With Spivak following the galley proofs, the manuscript was proof read out loud (for $2/hour) by one of his roommates, J. Kowit, who has an autographed copy that reads "For Joel, who read every word, left parenthesis, and subscript. - Mike." One of the references in the index reads, "Lac locus." This relates to a period of time during which Spivak worked with a friend in the Biology Department of Brandeis, dealing with the "lac operon," a set of genes whose study won the Nobel Prize for Jacob and Monod. These genes are named i, o, z, and y, and these letters can be found in the equations on page 106 - a very inside joke. When Spivak was writing his Calculus book, the current "popular" book was by Thomas. Spivak joked about naming his book, "Thomas's Calculus" [by Michael Spivak,] so that students who asked to buy Thomas's Calculus would end up with Spivak's book. In each of Spivak's books there are hidden references to yellow pigs, an idea Spivak apparently came up with at a bar while drinking with David C. Kelly.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Biographical sketch in Notices of the AMS, Vol. 32, 1985, p. 576.
  2. ^ "The Mathematics Genealogy Project - Michael Spivak". Genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  3. ^ Videos of Spivak's 2004 Pathway Lectures at Keio University and the text for Elementary mechanics from a mathematician's viewpoint.
  4. ^ "Physics for Mathematicians, Mechanics I". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ "MathTime Professional 2 Fonts". pctex.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ McCurdy, Christen. "Are Gender-Neutral Pronouns Actually Doomed?". Pacific Standard. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ Guillemin, Victor (1973). "Review: A comprehensive introduction to differential geometry, Vols. 1 & 2, by M. Spivak". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 79 (2): 303–306. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1973-13149-0. 
  8. ^ Alexander, Stephanie (1978). "Review: A comprehensive introduction to differential geometry, Vols. 3, 4, & 5, by M. Spivak". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 84 (1): 27–32. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1978-14399-7. 
  9. ^ Fernando Q. Gouvêa (2 February 1996). "Review: A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Calculus by Michael Spivak". MAA Reviews. 

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