Mathematics for the Life Sciences
Erin N. Bodine, Suzanne Lenhart, and Louis J. Gross

Mathematics for the Life Sciences

Erin N. Bodine, Suzanne Lenhart, and Louis J. Gross

© 2014 by Princeton University Press
ISBN: 978-1-400-85277-2

This website is designed to provide a variety of information about the text Mathematics for the Life Sciences. It provides some material that supplements the presentations in the text, and will be the primary method used by the authors to pass on new material related to the text to readers. We have endeavored to compose the text so that it is self-contained and hope that readers at various levels of mathematical preparation find it to be accessible. It is based on decades of experience of the authors in assisting biology undergraduates prepare for careers in many life science disciplines and we appreciate the comments and feedback from thousands of students and a great many instructors over the years. The Preface to the text provides a concise summary of our motivation and goals in developing this. We hope you find the text to be enlightening and that it assists you in making connections between mathematical and computational methods and the many life science topics used in the text to motivate the quantitative concepts.


"This is the book I always wanted to write, a masterful and thorough introduction to the basic mathematical, statistical, and computational tools one needs to address biological problems, punctuated with solid and motivational applications to biology. The book is a seamless and authoritative treatment, with broad scope, that makes an ideal text for an introductory course."--Simon A. Levin, editor of The Princeton Guide to Ecology

"This book presents mathematics as the Esperanto of science, which it truly is. The authors provide salient topics in understandable form, selecting examples that capture the interest of biologists. Mathematics for the Life Sciences is as useful as it is stimulating."--Rita Colwell, University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies

"This book does an admirable job of covering the mathematical topics that are essential for studying and analyzing biological systems. By bringing them together in a single coherent and well-written volume, the authors have produced a text that will truly serve undergraduate students in biology. The exercises are particularly well done."--Alan Hastings, University of California, Davis

"This is a thorough, self-contained introductory textbook for training undergraduate students in basic mathematical and statistical methods that are important in biological sciences. Students are introduced to topics ranging from probability and statistics to matrix theory and calculus, with a brief introduction to modeling using difference and differential equations. Two unique features of this textbook are the inclusion of real-world biological data to motivate particular methods and the use of MATLAB for computational purposes."--Linda J. S. Allen, Texas Tech University


The life sciences deal with a vast array of problems at different spatial, temporal, and organizational scales. The mathematics necessary to describe, model, and analyze these problems is similarly diverse, incorporating quantitative techniques that are rarely taught in standard undergraduate courses. This textbook provides an accessible introduction to these critical mathematical concepts, linking them to biological observation and theory while also presenting the computational tools needed to address problems not readily investigated using mathematics alone.

Proven in the classroom and requiring only a background in high school math, Mathematics for the Life Sciences doesn't just focus on calculus as do most other textbooks on the subject. It covers deterministic methods and those that incorporate uncertainty, problems in discrete and continuous time, probability, graphing and data analysis, matrix modeling, difference equations, differential equations, and much more. The book uses MATLAB throughout, explaining how to use it, write code, and connect models to data in examples chosen from across the life sciences.


Erin N. Bodine is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rhodes College. Suzanne Lenhart is Chancellor's Professor of Mathematics at the University of Tennessee. Louis J. Gross is Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics at the University of Tennessee.