Questions tagged [calculus]

For basic questions about limits, continuity, derivatives, integrals, and their applications, mainly of one-variable functions. For questions about convergence of sequences and series, this tag can be use with more specialized tags.

Calculus is the branch of mathematics studying the rate of change of quantities, which can be interpreted as slopes of curves, and the lengths, areas and volumes of objects. Calculus is sometimes divided into differential and integral calculus, which are concerned with derivatives

$$\frac{\mathrm{d}y}{\mathrm{d}x}= \lim_{\Delta x \to 0} \frac{\Delta y}{\Delta x}$$

and integrals

$$\int_a^b f(x)\,\mathrm{d}x = \lim_{\Delta x \to 0} \sum_{k=0}^n f(x_k)\ \Delta x_k,$$

respectively. The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus relates these two concepts.

While ideas related to calculus were known for some time (Archimedes' method of exhaustion was a form of calculus), it was not until the independent work of Newton and Leibniz that the modern elegant tools and ideas of calculus were developed. Riemann and Lebesgue later extended the ideas of integration. More recently, the Henstock–Kurzweil integral has led to a more satisfactory version of the second part of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

Even so, many years elapsed until mathematicians such as Cauchy and Weierstrass put the subject on a mathematically rigorous footing; it was Weierstrass who formalized the definition of continuity of a function, proved the intermediate value theorem, and proved the Bolzano-Weierstrass Theorem.

Source: Wolfram Mathworld

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Is $\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x}$ not a ratio?

In Thomas's Calculus (11th edition), it is mentioned (Section 3.8 pg 225) that the derivative $dy/dx$ is not a ratio. Couldn't it be interpreted as a ratio, because according to the formula $dy = f'(x) \, dx$ we are able to plug in values for $dx$…
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How to prove that $\lim\limits_{x\to0}\frac{\sin x}x=1$?

How can one prove the statement $$\lim_{x\to 0}\frac{\sin x}x=1$$ without using the Taylor series of $\sin$, $\cos$ and $\tan$? Best would be a geometrical solution. This is homework. In my math class, we are about to prove that $\sin$ is…
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Integral $\int_{-1}^1\frac1x\sqrt{\frac{1+x}{1-x}}\ln\left(\frac{2\,x^2+2\,x+1}{2\,x^2-2\,x+1}\right) \mathrm dx$

I need help with this integral: $$I=\int_{-1}^1\frac1x\sqrt{\frac{1+x}{1-x}}\ln\left(\frac{2\,x^2+2\,x+1}{2\,x^2-2\,x+1}\right)\ \mathrm dx.$$ The integrand graph looks like this: $\hspace{1in}$ The approximate numeric value of the…
8 answers

Calculating the length of the paper on a toilet paper roll

Fun with Math time. My mom gave me a roll of toilet paper to put it in the bathroom, and looking at it I immediately wondered about this: is it possible, through very simple math, to calculate (with small error) the total paper length of a toilet…
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How can you prove that a function has no closed form integral?

In the past, I've come across statements along the lines of "function $f(x)$ has no closed form integral", which I assume means that there is no combination of the operations: addition/subtraction multiplication/division raising to powers and…
6 answers

What is the practical difference between a differential and a derivative?

I ask because, as a first-year calculus student, I am running into the fact that I didn't quite get this down when understanding the derivative: So, a derivative is the rate of change of a function with respect to changes in its variable, this much…
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Evaluate $ \int_{0}^{\frac{\pi}2}\frac1{(1+x^2)(1+\tan x)}\:\mathrm dx$

Evaluate the following integral $$ \tag1\int_{0}^{\frac{\pi}{2}}\frac1{(1+x^2)(1+\tan x)}\,\mathrm dx $$ My Attempt: Letting $x=\frac{\pi}{2}-x$ and using the property that $$ \int_{0}^{a}f(x)\,\mathrm dx = \int_{0}^{a}f(a-x)\,\mathrm dx $$ we…
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Evaluating the integral $\int_0^\infty \frac{\sin x} x \,\mathrm dx = \frac \pi 2$?

A famous exercise which one encounters while doing Complex Analysis (Residue theory) is to prove that the given integral: $$\int\limits_0^\infty \frac{\sin x} x \,\mathrm dx = \frac \pi 2$$ Well, can anyone prove this without using Residue theory? …
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Evaluating $\lim\limits_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum\limits_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$

I'm supposed to calculate: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$$ By using WolframAlpha, I might guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$, which is a pretty interesting and nice result. I wonder in which ways we may approach it.
user 1591719
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Derivative of sigmoid function $\sigma (x) = \frac{1}{1+e^{-x}}$

In my AI textbook there is this paragraph, without any explanation. The sigmoid function is defined as follows $$\sigma (x) = \frac{1}{1+e^{-x}}.$$ This function is easy to differentiate because $$\frac{d\sigma (x)}{d(x)} = \sigma (x)\cdot…
Bryan Glazer
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What is the result of $\infty - \infty$?

I would say $\infty - \infty=0$ because even though $\infty$ is an undetermined number, $\infty = \infty$. So $\infty-\infty=0$.
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Proving $\int_{0}^{\infty} \mathrm{e}^{-x^2} dx = \frac{\sqrt \pi}{2}$

How to prove $$\int_{0}^{\infty} \mathrm{e}^{-x^2}\, dx = \frac{\sqrt \pi}{2}$$
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A math contest problem $\int_0^1\ln\left(1+\frac{\ln^2x}{4\,\pi^2}\right)\frac{\ln(1-x)}x \ \mathrm dx$

A friend of mine sent me a math contest problem that I am not able to solve (he does not know a solution either). So, I thought I might ask you for help. Prove: $$\int_0^1\ln\left(1+\frac{\ln^2x}{4\,\pi^2}\right)\frac{\ln(1-x)}x…
12 answers

What is $dx$ in integration?

When I was at school and learning integration in maths class at A Level my teacher wrote things like this on the board. $$\int f(x)\, dx$$ When he came to explain the meaning of the $dx$, he told us "think of it as a full stop". For whatever reason…
Sachin Kainth
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Symmetry of function defined by integral

Define a function $f(\alpha, \beta)$, $\alpha \in (-1,1)$, $\beta \in (-1,1)$ as $$ f(\alpha, \beta) = \int_0^{\infty} dx \: \frac{x^{\alpha}}{1+2 x \cos{(\pi \beta)} + x^2}$$ One can use, for example, the Residue Theorem to show that $$ f(\alpha,…
Ron Gordon
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