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2015

Two LSUS Professors Release New Calculus Book, 7 Years in the Making

May 22, 2015

LSUS Professor, Dr. Paul Sisson, is writing again and joining him in his most recent adventure is LSUS Mathematics Professor and co-author, Dr. Tibor Szarvas. Their most recent textbook, Calculus, which entails 15 chapters and almost 1,500 pages, has just been released.

Originally from Hungary, Dr. Szarvas came to the United States to obtain his PhD. After graduating, he moved to San Diego to teach at a small private school called San Diego Christian College where he was head of the math department. In the mid 2000's Dr. Szarvas decided to move to Shreveport after having been offered an attractive opportunity to teach at LSUS. Today, he is a Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department at LSUS. Dr. Szarvas says that writing the book was enjoyable yet difficult due to so many tight deadlines. While he jokingly suggested his wife may not be a fan of him writing anytime soon he said a little break will be nice, but he hopes to try it again someday.  

After achieving his PhD from South Carolina, Dr. Sisson moved to Shreveport to start teaching at LSUS. He took on the job as assistant professor of mathematics and has had just about every possible position since then, going through the usual ranks. One could say that Sisson has 'worn many hats' while working at LSUS over the years. In addition, Dr. Sisson decided to start writing college level math books that have proven to be very popular with over 180 campuses around the country using them. Sisson says that his latest book, Calculus, took the longest to finish compared to his other 3 texts due to the intricate detail involved.  

The two formerly met while both earning their PhD's in grad school at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Sisson and Dr. Szarvas were both assigned to the same advisor, Dr. James W. Roberts, who helped them throughout their journey at USC. After graduation they parted ways only to reconnect again when Dr. Sisson recommended Dr. Szarvas for a job opportunity at LSUS as the Department Chair of Mathematics. They originally started discussing the idea of creating the book together in 2008. However, it wasn't until the early spring of 2009 that they actually began writing. With the idea of catering to our students at LSUS, Sisson and Szarvas wrote the book with the idea in mind that 5 chapters per class would be covered. This way the 15 chapters fit perfectly with LSUS' 3 semester calculus sequence.  

Dr. Sisson explained that calculus is important to everyone whether they realize it or not. When calculus was developed in the late 1600s so much of math and science blossomed. An explosion of ideas in physics, engineering, mathematics, business, and more was developed and would not be the same today without calculus. Sisson says that calculus and higher mathematics basically define the world we live in today. Simple things we take for granted such as internet speed and how quickly our texts or videos are transmitted would not be possible without calculus.  

Even the cover selected by the professors was created mathematically. Dr. Sisson along with Dr. Szarvas spent a few days looking for an eye-catching image. After selecting an image and contacting the artist, whom who had no idea of the math behind his artwork, Dr. Sisson took a few weeks to reverse-engineer the artist's sculpture and learned that it did in fact have quite a lot of mathematical underpinnings.  

Both Dr. Sisson and Dr. Szarvas thoroughly enjoyed writing the textbook. Although it is a tiring job that takes quite a bit of time and work, Dr. Sisson says he is already working on the plans to start again and Dr. Szarvas says that if he has the opportunity in the future he will probably take it. These professors have made LSUS proud with their hard work and success. What a wonderful bond to be able to rekindle their friendship and achieve so much together in the process. 

Photo:  Dr. Tibor Szarvas (left) and Dr. Paul Sisson (right) show off the cover of their latest book.