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OK easy question time!

  1. Apr 22, 2008 #1
    Hi folks! I've taken Calculus I and Calculus II, and I'm honestly not that bad at calculus but there's one thing I never quite got which really troubles me. How does one go about evaluating the derivative of an integral with a variable limit of integration?

    Now, I realize that you're supposed to use the fundamental theorem of calculus, and that it somehow works out that, for example:

    d/dx\int_{a}^{x} 2t dt = 2x

    But when I do this, I actually do the integration then do the differentiation... I guess I'm not confident that just replacing t with x (in the example I gave) will work in general, like on a really bad integral like:

    d/dx\int_{a}^{x} \sqrt{1+t^3}

    Does it really equal [tex] \sqrt{1+x^3} [/tex]??? I can't actually expand it out to see for sure...

    Does this question of mine even make sense or am I crazy? Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2008 #2
  4. Apr 22, 2008 #3


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    the only way I can make sense of your question is to translate it like this:

    "I like to do things the hard way. How can I do it easily?"

    Well, maybe not. That still doesn't make much sense! Have you considered going carefully over the proof of the fundamental theorem?
  5. Apr 22, 2008 #4
    Thanks for the replies folks, it's becoming more clear to me. I think I'll have to go over the proof of the fundamental theorem again after it's had time to sink in a bit, but I can solve problems now without feeling as if I'm pulling this out of a bag of tricks!
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