fyc03 - FIRST YEAR CALCULUS W W L CHEN c W W L Chen, 1982,...

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FIRST YEAR CALCULUS W W L CHEN c ± W W L Chen, 1982, 2008. This chapter originates from material used by the author at Imperial College, University of London, between 1981 and 1990. It is available free to all individuals, on the understanding that it is not to be used for financial gain, and may be downloaded and/or photocopied, with or without permission from the author. However, this document may not be kept on any information storage and retrieval system without permission from the author, unless such system is not accessible to any individuals other than its owners. Chapter 3 INTRODUCTION TO DERIVATIVES 3.1. Introduction We begin by looking at a simple example. Suppose that a car is travelling along a road. For 10 hours, its distance from the point of origin is noted at hourly intervals and recorded. The table below shows its distance x in kilometres from the point of origin against time t in hours: t 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 x 0 50 120 190 290 350 470 560 620 690 750 We can denote by s ( t ) the distance of the car from the point of origin after time t , so that s (3) = 190 and s (8) = 620, for example. Then the average speed of the car between the 3-hour mark and the 8-hour mark will be given by change in distance over the time interval length of the time interval = s (8) - s (3) 8 - 3 = 620 - 190 8 - 3 = 86 kilometres per hour. Suppose next that we wish to find the actual speed of the car at the 3-hour mark. Then the table above is not of much use. However, if more precise information of the position of the car is available at all time, then perhaps the following strategy may be useful. We take the position s (3) of the car at the 3-hour mark. Now add a small time interval Δ t , and find out the position s (3 + Δ t ) of the car after 3 + Δ t hours. Then we calculate the average speed s (3 + Δ t ) - s (3) Δ t of the car over this small time interval. If Δ t is very small, then this average should be roughly the speed of the car at the 3-hour mark. We are therefore looking at some quantity, if it exists at all, like lim Δ t 0 s (3 + Δ t ) - s (3) Δ t . Chapter 3 : Introduction to Derivatives page 1 of 20
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First Year Calculus c ± W W L Chen, 1982, 2008 Consider the graph of a function y = f ( x ). Suppose that P ( a,b ) is a point on the curve y = f ( x ). Consider now another point Q ( x,y ) on the curve close to the point P ( ). We draw the line joining the points P ( ) and Q ( ), and obtain the picture below. x yy = f ( x ) P ( a, b ) Q ( x, y ) Clearly the slope of this line is equal to y - b x - a = f ( x ) - f ( a ) x - a . Now let us keep the point P ( ) fixed, and move the point Q ( ) along the curve towards the point P . Eventually the line PQ becomes the tangent to the curve y = f ( x ) at the point P ( ), as shown in the picture below. x = f ( x ) P ( a, b ) We are interested in the slope of this tangent line. Its value is called the derivative of the function y = f ( x ) at the point x = a , and denoted by d y d x ± ± ± ± x = a or f 0 ( a ) .
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This note was uploaded on 07/05/2010 for the course MATH 2240 taught by Professor Crespo during the Spring '09 term at SPSU.

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fyc03 - FIRST YEAR CALCULUS W W L CHEN c W W L Chen, 1982,...

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