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I want to learn calculus

  1. Aug 21, 2007 #1
    I really do.
    All my friends know calculus.(or do they? I don't know for sure).
    Can you suggest a book or a website?
    I'm 15.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2007 #2
  4. Aug 21, 2007 #3
    "they think they know it"

    HS calc is crap! i won't truly know it for a longgg time! so i doubt they do.

    since you're young, i would suggest Algebra & Trigonometry by Judith Beecher along with Stewart's Calculus. i'm in love with Beecher's book, solely bc it's a Calculus-prep book.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  5. Aug 21, 2007 #4
    The books on Calculus by Walter Rudin are also very good. He explains everything in a self contained way starting at the fundamentals.
  6. Aug 21, 2007 #5
    Teach yourself. or take a college course. I did, and I'm 15 also. I used Stewart's book, it was nice and easy. You just have to be disciplined about it. Make sure you have a great algebra foundation, and you are super confident with analytic trigonometry. It shouldn't be too hard, Go for it!
  7. Aug 21, 2007 #6
    geesh, i wish i was this motivated when i was younger

    but girls > math!
  8. Aug 21, 2007 #7


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    True. :smile:
  9. Aug 21, 2007 #8
    Are you being serious? I don't believe Walter Rudin has written a calculus book(amazon does not have a calculus book by him listed). Walter Rudin, however, is the author of a well known undergraduate level book for Real Analysis as well as graduate level books on Real and Complex Analysis and Functional Analysis. If you were suggesting Rudin's Principles of Mathematics Analysis as a book to learn calculus from, then that is not a very good idea at all, this book requires a good deal of mathematical maturity and familiarity with proofs, two things that someone just wanting to learn calculus does not likely have. Not that Rudin's book is bad, just that it is in no way suited for a first course in calculus.

    Now a book I would recommend for someone wanting to teach him or herself calculus, check out Calculus by Michael Spivak, it starts with axioms for the real numbers and then builds on top of that with single variable calculus. It is not the easiest book, but if you have the determination and want a more theoretical treatment of calculus then this is the perfect book. Now if one wanted to study from Rudin after Spivak's book then I think one would be well prepared, but I would not suggest trying to learn Calculus from Rudin.
  10. Aug 21, 2007 #9
    i think honestly what anyone should do is go to a college library and thumb through a couple books and pick which one is best for you.
  11. Aug 22, 2007 #10


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    read my thread, who wants to be a math guy.
  12. Aug 22, 2007 #11
    i didn't even know about Calculus till my Junior/Senior yr in HS... :)
  13. Aug 22, 2007 #12


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    Since you're teaching yourself, you might even want to start with something like "Calculus for Dummies." It won't be rigorous, and it might not be good at developing your problem-solving skills, but it will definitely give you the conceptual understanding that will help you understand bona fide textbooks.

    - Warren
  14. Aug 22, 2007 #13
    I would also suggest some books like "Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics" and "Who is Fourier: A Mathematical Adventure" and "The Shape of Space". These books have the motivation of what moves mathematicians. They will make you excited about math. They are also filled with real math. The Fourier book has a real good intro to calculus as well as complex analysis all written in a simple style (really!).

    When you attack the Calculus, I agree with chroot. Buy yourself the easiest books you can find. At 15, you have lots of time for rigorous text books. If you get "Calculus for Dummies" don't forget the workbook. Good luck.
  15. Aug 23, 2007 #14
  16. Sep 11, 2007 #15
  17. Sep 12, 2007 #16
    I thought Larson and Hostetler was good. Actually, you know what, just use Spivak Calculus.
  18. Sep 13, 2007 #17


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    my favorite for years was, calculus made easy by sylvanus p thompson, motto: "what one fool can do, another can".
  19. Sep 13, 2007 #18
    Enjoy life thread starter. Math has its place, but calculus at 15 is not it.
  20. Sep 13, 2007 #19
    Why not? I'm 14 and mathematics/calculus is a great part of my life. And I still enjoy life.
  21. Sep 13, 2007 #20


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    Here is your first calculus lesson: try to find the line tangent to the graph of y = x^2, at x=1.

    this means finding the graph of the linear function closest to x^2, near x=1.

    well consider how x^2 changes as x changes near 1. we have x = 1+h so x^2 =

    (1+h)^2 = 1+ 2h + h^2, where h = x-1.

    Now the linear part of this expression is 2h, and for x near 1, i.e. small h, h^2 is extremely small. e.g. h=.1 implies h^2 = .01.

    So the linear approximation to x^2 near x=1 seems to be 1^2 +2h, or 1+2(x-1).
    Thus near x=1, the linear function closest to x^2 seems to be y = 2x-1.

    This says the tangent line to y=x^2, at x= 1, should be the graph of y = 2x-1.

    more generally, this method shows the linear approximation to y = x^2 near x = a,

    is y = a^2 + 2a(x-a).
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