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Is calculus helpful in understanding physics

  1. Dec 1, 2015 #1
    Im taking algebra based physics and i am having a hard time trying to understand some concepts or equations and i heard that calculus is very helpful
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2015 #2
    What don't you understand for example?
  4. Dec 1, 2015 #3
    I don't really understand how some equations were created or why they work
  5. Dec 1, 2015 #4
    You really need to be a lot more detailed.
  6. Dec 1, 2015 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    What do you expect as an answer? Whether calculus is helpful in physics? Yes.
  7. Dec 2, 2015 #6
    Calculus is more than helpful, is needed, one of the most basic physics equations that are seen in school come from derivation, such as V=Vo+a*t is a derived equation from
    X=Xo+Vo*t +1/2*a*t^2.
    Calculus works at a more fundamental level than the equations stated above, for every kind of classical motion, it is true that the acceleration is the derivative of the velocity, and the double derivative of the position, so it lets you solve more complicated problems, such as modelling air resistance problems for a falling object.
    But everything is taught in due time, most (if not all) high-schools "rip" calculus out of physics so it doesn't become a math course, they give you a set of equation to work with in very specific cases, and you work them out as you go.
    After this quite extensive answer, yes, calculus is used in every branch of physics, and if you are planning to get a degree in physics, it will be taught in university.
  8. Dec 2, 2015 #7


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    As has been stated already, I will repeat the clear and unambigous answer to your question in the topic: Calculus is NECESSARY (not just "helpful) in understanding physics.

    Have we answered your question?

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