Calculus Facts

Without calculus, NASA wouldn't have been able to launch shuttles into space.
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Calculus is an advanced mathematical science that speaks a single universal language. From Nigeria to Norway, people and governments use it to help make the world a better place. Calculus has been around for a long time, and though its early origins are debatable, many interesting facts surround this mathematical concept that borders somewhere between a science and an art.

Calculus Founders

Although some historians give credit to the ancient Greeks for discovering calculus, many scholars recognize Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz who, independent of one another, developed its concepts. The University of Iowa teaches its students that Newton and Leibniz held differing concepts. While Leibniz saw the variables of x and y composing "sequences of infinitely close values," Newton viewed them as variables that change with time. Leibniz regarded calculus as a mathematical science ripe for analysis while Newton took it as being geometrical.

Popular AP Subject

Calculus is a popular AP subject offered by many high schools. Because so many fields of study require a knowledge of calculus, high schools offer it to Advanced Placement students as a continuation from pre-calculus. Often, the class can count toward college credit requirements and is a popular class for students who plan on a college curriculum heavy in science and mathematics.

The Study of Change

Calculus is a mathematical science with a primary focus to study how things change. It sets the stage for providing an arena in which change happens and provides a way to deduce the predictions. Calculus allows people to formulate relatively basic quantitative models of change and provides the means to deduce their outcomes. Calculus gives people the ability to discover changing conditions within the system of study and lets individuals with advanced skills control the system to make it behave in any desired manner. For example, engineers use calculus to create formulas and predict changes that will occur in their projects and harness those predictors to work in their favor.

Where Calculus Is Used

Calculus is used in a wide variety of industries and careers. Anyone who works with graphics on a computer, such as a video game programmer, uses calculus while working with vectors in which reactions and outcomes are predicted. Economists use calculus to solve problems -- it has long been called their international language, and they rely on it to examine functional relationships. Biologists also use calculus in their research projects. For example, a marine biologist who might be studying the relationship between specific numbers of sea urchins and the depletion rate of nearby kelp plants would use calculus to find a relationship between the amounts of a quantity and the rate that quantity is changing.

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