# Calculus - strange anomaly? can anyone explain

f(x) = (1 - x^2)^1/2

This all stems from me approximating pi by numerically evaluating the integral S f(x)dx from 0 to 1 and multiply the sum by 4.

Now...

Would you agree that f(x) has a derivative
f'(x) = (1 - x^2)^-1/2 * -2x

?

According to my textbook this is so. Now I can easily find a primary function for f(x).

F(x) = (1 - x^2)^3/2 / -2x

Now it doesn't seem possible to evaluate [ F(x) ] from 0 to 1.
Though it should yeild pi/4, it doesn't.

Doing a riemann sum produces an approximation to pi, while evaluating [ F(x) ] only returns bogus. Since pi is an irrational number I accept that it is impossible to express it exactly. Though, I would like someone to explain why this doesn't work.

If you plot the function

it is of course a circle centered on x and y equals zero, and has an infinite derivative at x=&plusminus;1.

suffian
Your F(x) is not the antiderivative to f(x) = sqrt(1-x2). It should be F(x) = (1/2)x sqrt(1-x2)+arcsin(x)/2. This new F(x) evaluates the function properly.

Ok thanks alot! Something must be left out of my textbook in that case.

Last edited:
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Try differentiating F(x); you'll see that it does not come out to f(x).

As for evaluating the integral, look through the section on trigonometric substitution.

HallsofIvy