“I have attempted to deliver [these lectures] in a
spirit that should be recommended to all students
embarking on the writing of their PH.D. thesis: Imag-
ine that you are explaining your ideas to your former
smart, but ignorant, self, at the beginning of your
—Richard P. Feynman
This quote of Dick Feynman expresses well both our goal in writ-
ing this book and the style in which we have tried to present the
material—this is how we would have liked someone to explain things
to us when we were first learning about differential equations and
Richard Palais and Bob Palais
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