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What type of calculus is in physics 1?

  1. Jan 7, 2016 #1
    I was just wondering what type of calculus is in cal based physics 1? I'm a little rusty at calculus, so I was just curious...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2016 #2
    For calculus based physics 1 ( like K&K mechanics), you need good understanding of differential and integral calculus, along with some vector algebra and vector calculus, most of what you need, beside knowing basic integration and differentiation will be introduced along the way.
  4. Jan 7, 2016 #3


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    I don't think most schools use Kleppner & Kolenkow for "Physics 1". :oldwink:

    Just to make sure, Tagl00king might want to tell us which textbook he's using (or will be using).

    At the colleges where I've studied and taught, the first semester of calculus based intro physics used some single-variable differential and integral calculus. Nothing fancy, just polynomials, sines and cosines and the chain rule. Usually less integral calc than differential calc.

    And most of the exercises use only algebra and trig. Only a few use calculus. The calculus is used mainly to simplify derivations.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  5. Jan 7, 2016 #4
    Yes you're right. I first wrote a long reply, then i noticed that he said " cal based physics 1" so I assumed that he meant physics at the level of K&K.
  6. Jan 8, 2016 #5
    almost 90% of calculus has to do with physics
  7. Jan 8, 2016 #6
    Posting the syllabus might help, physics 1 can mean many things. (In my university for example "physics 1" is a LOT easier, and taught a lot earlier than "classical mechanics 1")
  8. Jan 8, 2016 #7
    At my school, Calculus I is only a co-requisite for Physics I, so we used barely any at all. Like we had some basic integrals (center of mass, gravitational field, moment of inertia), and maybe a few derivatives on homework (wave equations). Of course, I'm just talking about what we actually had to do; naturally we had a good amount in explanations in the textbook and such. I don't think I had to take a single derivative or integral on any of the three exams or the final.

    Of course, we did make extensive use of vectors.
  9. Jan 8, 2016 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    JTBell's answer is the best - by far. "Physics 1" means so many different things. Where I went to school there are five variants of "Physics 1". And that's at one school! You need to see the syallabus, or at least the textbook.
  10. Jan 9, 2016 #9
  11. Jan 9, 2016 #10
    You'll have to differentiate and integrate polynomials and sines and cosines. Maybe deal with a chain rule. That's it.
  12. Jan 9, 2016 #11


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    Only it isn't always, see V50's post.

  13. Jan 9, 2016 #12


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    Have you considered e-mailing the professor/instructor? He's (or she's) probably in the best position to know what's going to happen in your class.
  14. Jan 9, 2016 #13


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    Know what a derivative means, know what an integral means, know how to use them. Taking derivative and integrating will be used as tools. Most problem-solving for the first course in the series for Physics (emphasizing Mechanics) for Science & Engineering students will rely on algebra, trigonometry, and vectors
  15. Jan 11, 2016 #14
    Thanks for all of the help! I don't have my instructors email yet, that was my first choice. Anyway, thanks! I'll have to start studying.
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