Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Mean Value Theorem Proof

  1. Jun 10, 2012 #1
    I am reading the proof for the M.V.T, mostly understanding it all, except for this one step. Here is the link to it: http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/CalcI/DerivativeAppsProofs.aspx#Extras_DerAppPf_MVT
    It's near the bottom of the page.

    What I don't precisely is why they create a new function, g(x), which is defined as f(x) subtracted by the equation for the secant line. A few steps after this they are able to redefine the interval (a, b) for this new function g(x), where the endpoints are equal to equal to each other, but I just don't understand the motive for this. What does it accomplish in proving this theorem?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2012 #2
    The function is necessary if Rolle's Theorem will be applied.
     
  4. Jun 10, 2012 #3
    Expanding on what Millenial is saying, g(x) was defined so that you could directly use the result of Rolle's Theorem to help prove the mean value theorem. This is assuming you already know Rolle's theorem, whose proof is given above. Basically, if you do have g(x), you cannot use the fact that Rolle's theorem is applicable(it is only applicable on functions, after all!!) and hence be unable to deduce a proof MVT.
     
  5. Jun 10, 2012 #4
    Okay, so think in terms of Rolle's Theorem when lighting upon that step. Alright, I understand. Thank you both.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook