Math Primer For The Sciences


Western Washington University

Benjamin Miner and Jeff Young

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All the key topics of basic math you need to know to solve problems in the sciences are covered with relevant, easy to follow and understand examples. Carry it with you through your entire college career.


Ben Miner is Department Chair of Biology at Western Washington University, and is a Marine Biology PhD. He’s an avid surfer and body boarder and loves science!

Jeff Young teaches cell biology and genetics at Western Washington University and does research in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.

Covers all math equations and formulas in the sciences. A refresher for those entering STEM courses with skill-building exercises.

Preface iv

Part One: Math Fundamentals

1.1 Numerical Systems

1.2 Common Mathematical Symbols

1.3 Fractions

1.4 Percentages

1.5 Relationships Among Proportions, Percentages, Fractions, and Ratios

1.6 Exponents and Logarithms

1.7 Scientific Notation

Part Two: Spatial Math

2.1 Angles

2.2 Geometry

2.3 Trigonometry

Part Three: Applied Math

3.1 Algebra

3.2 Permutations and Combinations

3.3 Probability

3.4 Probability Distributions

3.6 Functions

3.6 Useful Equations

Part Four: Measurements

4.2 Prefixes of the Metric System

4.2 SI Units

4.3 Accuracy and Precision

4.3 Significant Figures and Rounding

Part Five: Laboratory Skills

5.1 Converting Between Units

5.2 Solutions

5.3 Serial Dilutions