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Calculus is awesome!

  1. Sep 4, 2012 #1
    Hello,

    I just wanted to point out a fact obvious to most of you, the fact that:

    CALCULUS IS AWESOME!

    That is all,
    Bye
    Mathguy
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2012 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    It is amazing.

    I pity people who are introduced to in a gentle step by step fashion, making it all seems natural and obvious. It's much more fun when you find it totally confusing and then finally BAM! the light dawns.

    But don't expect too much from calculus. It's power in a vast number of situations can mislead you into thinking it can tackle anything. When it comes to things like finding computer algorithms to interpret pictures or decrypt codes, its capability is less impressive. Maybe we've yet to invent the best math for things like that.
     
  4. Sep 4, 2012 #3
    Well, it wasn't completely obvious, or gentle, really. But, now that my mind is oriented the way it should, it's really fun :smile:
     
  5. Sep 4, 2012 #4

    pwsnafu

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    This. Calculus is a sledgehammer. Sure you can open a walnut with a sledgehammer, but do you want to?

    I'm pretty sure you've seen the "fence by the river problem": you have a length of wood P long and you need to build a rectangular fence with one side the river bank. A student using calculus would set up the equations
    ##A = xy##
    ##P = 2x + y##
    then solve the second equation for y, then substitute into the first equation, then differentiate and find the stationary point, find y, and finally prove that you have a max. It'll take at least half a page.

    Or you can just use the AM-GM inequality
    ##A = xy = \frac{1}{2} \sqrt{2xy}^2 \leq \frac{1}{2} \left(\frac{2x+y}{2}\right)^2 = \frac{P^2}{8}##
    with equality when ##2x=y## and the problem is solved. Just because calculus can tackle a lot of different problems does not mean it is always the best tool for the job.
     
  6. Sep 5, 2012 #5
    Oh yes, I think that example is indeed pertinent. I had an algebra book that had a chapter devoted to inequalities, so when I see that problem or others like it, I think AM-GM.
     
  7. Sep 5, 2012 #6
    I'm glad it plays such an integral role in your life.
     
  8. Sep 5, 2012 #7

    lisab

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    He derives much pleasure from it.
     
  9. Sep 5, 2012 #8
    Ah, our first derivative joke.

    Would anyone like to make a second derivative joke?
     
  10. Sep 5, 2012 #9
    So which "inventor" do you favor, Newton or Leibniz?
     
  11. Sep 5, 2012 #10
    I probably would have better understood calculus if the 3 classes I took were split up into 4 or 5 classes. We had to rush through a lot of things and not talk about a lot of things just to get through it in 3 semesters. I might take advanced calculus. Anyone know the prereq for it?
     
  12. Sep 5, 2012 #11
    Depends on the school, but if you've taken all 3 semesters, you should be fine. Maybe linear algebra would help (LA always helps).
     
  13. Sep 6, 2012 #12
    Newton was kind of a jerk
     
  14. Sep 6, 2012 #13
    Aw, now what makes you say that?
     
  15. Sep 6, 2012 #14

    micromass

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    He really was. Read up on his life, he was a really mean person. Nevertheless, he was insanely smart!
     
  16. Sep 6, 2012 #15

    Dembadon

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    As long as he doesn't drink and derive, he should be okay. :biggrin:
     
  17. Sep 6, 2012 #16
    Yeah, but both of those chicks had awesome hair.
     
  18. Sep 6, 2012 #17
    My dentist told me I have calculus in my teeth. I figure it fell down from my brain.
     
  19. Sep 6, 2012 #18

    lisab

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    I wonder which one actually took the first derivative?
     
  20. Sep 6, 2012 #19
    Definitely Liebniz. All of Newton's work was rather *puts on sunglasses* derivative.
     
  21. Sep 6, 2012 #20

    chiro

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    You don't happen to be a detective of a major network TV show called "CSI" by any chance?
     
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