What is Calculus? When Do You Use It In The Real World?

There are a lot of branches of mathematics that are known to man. Also known as the "language of numbers", it means many things to many people. Some may know it as a useful tool that is a key to getting civilizations rolling. But to others, they find it as an academic nuisance that only serves to lower grade transcripts. Still, what can't be denied is that mathematics is here to stay and it is actually a part of our lives, even down to the most basic things.

One of the foremost branches of mathematics is calculus. The formal study of calculus started from the 17th century by well-known scientists and mathematicians like Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, although it is possible that it has been at use as early as the Greek era. It is a mathematical discipline that is primarily concerned with functions, limits, derivatives, and integrals just to name a few. This discipline has a unique legacy over the history of mathematics. Even though it is split between the 2 definitions of Newton and Leibniz, it has still been able to create a new mathematical system and was used in a variety of applications.

There are 2 different fields of calculus. The first subfield is called differential calculus. Using the concept of function derivatives, it studies the behavior and rate on how different quantities change. Using the process of differentiation, the graph of a function can actually be computed, analyzed, and predicted. The second subfield is called integral calculus. Integration is actually the reverse process of differentiation, concerned with the concept of the anti-derivative. Either a concept, or at least semblances of it, has existed for centuries already. Even though these 2 subfields are generally different form each other, these 2 concepts are linked by the fundamental theorem of calculus.

Though it is complicated to use well, calculus does have a lot of practical uses - uses that you probably won't comprehend at first. The most common practical use of calculus is when plotting graphs of certain formulae or functions. Using methods such as the first derivative and the second derivative, a graph and its dimensions can be accurately estimated. These 2 derivatives are used to predict how a graph may look like, the direction that it is taking on a specific point, the shape of the graph at a specific point (if concave or convex), just to name a few.

When do you use calculus in the real world? In fact, you can use calculus in a lot of ways and applications. Among the disciplines that utilize calculus include physics, engineering, economics, statistics, and medicine. It is used to create mathematical models in order to arrive into an optimal solution. For example, in physics, calculus is used in a lot of its concepts. Among the physical concepts that use concepts of calculus include motion, electricity, heat, light, harmonics, acoustics, astronomy, and dynamics. In fact, even advanced physics concepts including electromagnetism and Einstein's theory of relativity use calculus. In the field of chemistry, calculus can be used to predict functions such as reaction rates and radioactive decay. Meanwhile, in biology, it is utilized to formulate rates such as birth and death rates. In economics, calculus is used to compute marginal cost and marginal revenue, enabling economists to predict maximum profit in a specific setting. In addition, it is used to check answers for different mathematical disciplines such as statistics, analytical geometry, and algebra.

As you can see, calculus has a huge role in the real world. For most professions, learning it is the key to success. So this is why you can't dismiss calculus as just another nuisance. If it is, interest on the matter wouldn't have lasted as long as it did.