How would you like to follow in the footsteps of Euclid and Archimedes? Would you like to be able to determine precisely how fast Usain Bolt is accelerating exactly 2 seconds after the starting gun? Differential calculus deals with the study of the rates at which quantities change. It is one of the two principle areas of calculus. The fathers of modern calculus, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, independently formulated the fundamental theorem of calculus relating differentiation and integration. Differential calculus and integral calculus are connected by the fundamental theorem of calculus, which states that differentiation is the reverse process to integration.
The topic that is now known as "calculus" was really called "the calculus of differentials" when first devised by Newton (and Leibniz) roughly four hundred years ago. To Newton, differentials were infinitely small "changes" in numbers that previous mathematics didn't know what to do with. Think this has no relevence to you? Well how would you figure out how fast something is going *right* at this moment (you'd have to figure out the very, very small change in distance over an infinitely small change in time)? This tutorial gives a gentle introduction to the world of Newton and Leibniz.
The idea of slope is fairly straightforward-- (change in vertical) over (change in horizontal). But how do we measure this if the (change in horizontal) is zero (which would be the case when finding the slope of the tangent line. In this tutorial, we'll approximate this by finding the slopes of secant lines.
You understand that a derivative can be viewed as the slope of the tangent line at a point or the instantaneous rate of change of a function with respect to x. This tutorial will deepen your ability to visualize and conceptualize derivatives through videos and exercises.
We think you'll find this tutorial incredibly fun and satisfying (seriously).
Calculus is about to seem strangely straight forward. You've spent some time using the definition of a derivative to find the slope at a point. In this tutorial, we'll derive and apply the derivative for any term in a polynomial.
By the end of this tutorial, you'll have the power to take the derivative of any polynomial like it's second nature!
You can take the derivatives of f(x) and g(x), but what about f(g(x)) or g(f(x))? The chain rule gives us this ability. Because most complex and hairy functions can be thought of the composition of several simpler ones (ones that you can find derivatives of), you'll be able to take the derivative of almost any function after this tutorial. Just imagine.
We've already been using the chain rule, but let's take a moment to really convince ourselves that it'll always work. It's not necessary to watch these videos before moving on, but if you have the time, they'll help to deepen your understanding of derivatives, continuity, and the chain rule.
You can figure out the derivative of f(x). You're also good for g(x). But what about f(x) times g(x)? This is what the product rule is all about.
This tutorial is all about the product rule. It also covers the quotient rule (which really is just a special case of the product rule).
Like people, mathematical relations are not always explicit about their intentions. In this tutorial, we'll be able to take the derivative of one variable with respect to another even when they are implicitly defined (like "x^2 + y^2 = 1").