For basic questions about limits, derivatives, integrals, and applications, mainly of one-variable functions.

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376
votes
16answers
36k views

Is $\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x}$ not a ratio?

In the book Thomas's Calculus (11th edition) it is mentioned (Section 3.8 pg 225) that the derivative $\frac{\textrm{d}y}{\textrm{d}x}$ is not a ratio. Couldn't it be interpreted as a ratio, because ...
159
votes
5answers
38k views

Integral $\int_{-1}^1\frac1x\sqrt{\frac{1+x}{1-x}}\ln\left(\frac{2\,x^2+2\,x+1}{2\,x^2-2\,x+1}\right) \ \mathrm dx$

I need help with this integral: $$I=\int_{-1}^1\frac1x\sqrt{\frac{1+x}{1-x}}\ln\left(\frac{2\,x^2+2\,x+1}{2\,x^2-2\,x+1}\right)\ \mathrm dx.$$ The integrand graph looks like this: $\hspace{1in}$ The ...
114
votes
1answer
7k views

Evaluate $ \int_{0}^{\frac{\pi}{2}}\frac{1}{(1+x^2)(1+\tan x)}\,\mathrm dx$

Evaluate the following integral$$\int_{0}^{\Large\frac{\pi}{2}}\frac{1}{(1+x^2)(1+\tan x)}\,\mathrm dx$$ My Attempt: Let $$\tag1 I = \int_{0}^{\Large\frac{\pi}{2}}\frac{1}{(1+x^2)(1+\tan ...
104
votes
6answers
8k views

How can you prove that a function has no closed form integral?

I've come across statements in the past along the lines of "function $f(x)$ has no closed form integral", which I assume means that there is no combination of the operations: addition/subtraction ...
102
votes
5answers
6k views

Symmetry of function defined by integral

Define a function $f(\alpha, \beta)$, $\alpha \in (-1,1)$, $\beta \in (-1,1)$ as $$ f(\alpha, \beta) = \int_0^{\infty} dx \: \frac{x^{\alpha}}{1+2 x \cos{(\pi \beta)} + x^2}$$ One can use, for ...
87
votes
4answers
3k views

A math contest problem $\int_0^1\ln\left(1+\frac{\ln^2x}{4\,\pi^2}\right)\frac{\ln(1-x)}x \ \mathrm dx$

A friend of mine sent me a math contest problem that I am not able to solve (he does not know a solution either). So, I thought I might ask you for help. Prove: ...
86
votes
11answers
9k views

How can I find the surface area of a normal chicken egg?

This morning, I had eggs for breakfast, and I was looking at the pieces of broken shells and thought "What is the surface area of this egg?" The problem is that I have no real idea about how to find ...
86
votes
2answers
3k views

How to prove $\int_0^1\tan^{-1}\left[\frac{\tanh^{-1}x-\tan^{-1}x}{\pi+\tanh^{-1}x-\tan^{-1}x}\right]\frac{dx}{x}=\frac{\pi}{8}\ln\frac{\pi^2}{8}?$

How can one prove that $$\int_0^1 \tan^{-1}\left[\frac{\tanh^{-1}x-\tan^{-1}x}{\pi+\tanh^{-1}x-\tan^{-1}x}\right]\frac{dx}{x}$$ $$=\frac{\pi}{8}\ln\frac{\pi^2}{8}?$$
83
votes
18answers
15k views

Striking applications of integration by parts

What are your favorite applications of integration by parts? (The answers can be as lowbrow or highbrow as you wish. I'd just like to get a bunch of these in one place!) Thanks for your ...
83
votes
13answers
8k views

How to prove that $\lim\limits_{x\to0}\frac{\sin x}x=1$?

How can one prove the statement $$\lim\limits_{x\to 0}\frac{\sin x}x=1$$ without using the Taylor series of $\sin$, $\cos$ and $\tan$? Best would be a geometrical solution. This is homework. In my ...
82
votes
3answers
38k views

What is the practical difference between a differential and a derivative?

I ask because, as a first-year calculus student, I am running into the fact that I didn't quite get this down when understanding the derivative: So, a derivative is the rate of change of a function ...
76
votes
8answers
4k views

Self-Contained Proof that $\sum\limits_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$ Converges for $p > 1$

To prove the convergence of $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac1{n^p}$$ for $p > 1$, one typically appeals to either the Integral Test or the Cauchy Condensation Test. I am wondering if there is a ...
74
votes
10answers
4k views

Why does factoring eliminate a hole in the limit?

$$\lim _{x\rightarrow 5}\frac{x^2-25}{x-5} = \lim_{x\rightarrow 5} (x+5)$$ I understand that to evaluate a limit that has a zero ("hole") in the denominator we have to factor and cancel terms, and ...
72
votes
0answers
2k views

Identification of a curious function

During computation of some Shapley values (details below), I encountered the following function: $$ f\left(\sum_{k \geq 0} 2^{-p_k}\right) = \sum_{k \geq 0} \frac{1}{(p_k+1)\binom{p_k}{k}}, $$ where ...
71
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the derivative the natural logarithm of the left-shift?

(Disclaimer: I'm a high school student, and my knowledge of mathematics extends only to some elementary high school calculus. I don't know if what I'm about to do is valid mathematics.) I noticed ...
70
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an integral that proves $\pi > 333/106$?

The following integral, $$ \int_0^1 \frac{x^4(1-x)^4}{x^2 + 1} \mathrm{d}x = \frac{22}{7} - \pi $$ is clearly positive, which proves that $\pi < 22/7$. Is there a similar integral which proves ...
66
votes
8answers
3k views

Evaluating $\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum\limits_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$

I'm supposed to calculate: $$\lim_{n\to\infty} e^{-n} \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{n^k}{k!}$$ By using W|A, i may guess that the limit is $\frac{1}{2}$ that is a pretty interesting and nice result. I ...
65
votes
1answer
4k views

How to determine with certainty that a function has no elementary antiderivative?

Given an expression such as $f(x) = x^x$, is it possible to provide a thorough and rigorous proof that there is no function $F(x)$ (expressible in terms of known algebraic and transcendental ...
64
votes
13answers
10k views

In calculus, which questions can the naive ask that the learned cannot answer?

Number theory is known to be a field in which many questions that can be understood by secondary-school pupils have defied the most formidable mathematicians' attempts to answer them. Calculus is not ...
63
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is $1^{\infty}$ considered to be an indeterminate form

From Wikipedia: In calculus and other branches of mathematical analysis, an indeterminate form is an algebraic expression obtained in the context of limits. Limits involving algebraic operations are ...
63
votes
7answers
2k views

Does L'Hôpital's work the other way?

Hello fellows, As referred in Wikipedia (see the specified criteria there), L'Hôpital's rule says, $$ \lim_{x\to c}\frac{f(x)}{g(x)}=\lim_{x\to c}\frac{f'(x)}{g'(x)} $$ As $$ \lim_{x\to ...
61
votes
11answers
2k views

Proving an alternating Euler sum: $\sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^{k+1} H_k}{k} = \frac{1}{2} \zeta(2) - \frac{1}{2} \log^2 2$

Let $$A(p,q) = \sum_{k=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^{k+1}H^{(p)}_k}{k^q},$$ where $H^{(p)}_n = \sum_{i=1}^n i^{-p}$, the $n$th $p$-harmonic number. The $A(p,q)$'s are known as alternating Euler sums. ...
60
votes
8answers
5k views

Ways to evaluate $\int \sec \theta \, \mathrm d \theta$

The standard approach for showing $\int \sec \theta \, \mathrm d \theta = \ln |\sec \theta + \tan \theta| + C$ is to multiply by $\frac{\sec \theta + \tan \theta}{\sec \theta + \tan \theta}$ and then ...
58
votes
14answers
9k views

Proving $\int_{0}^{\infty} \mathrm{e}^{-x^2} dx = \dfrac{\sqrt \pi}{2}$

How to prove $$\int_{0}^{\infty} \mathrm{e}^{-x^2}\, dx = \frac{\sqrt \pi}{2}$$
57
votes
13answers
7k views

Don't see the point of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

$$\frac{d}{dx}\int_a^xf(t)dt$$ I would love to to understand what exactly is the point of FTC. I'm not interested in mechanically churning out solutions to problems. It doesn't state anything ...
57
votes
6answers
2k views

How to find ${\large\int}_0^1\frac{\ln^3(1+x)\ln x}x\mathrm dx$

Please help me to find a closed form for this integral: $$I=\int_0^1\frac{\ln^3(1+x)\ln x}x\mathrm dx\tag1$$ I suspect it might exist because there are similar integrals having closed forms: ...
57
votes
6answers
4k views

Area covered by a constant length segment rotating around the center of a square.

This is an idea I have had in my head for years and years and I would like to know the answer, and also I would like to know if it's somehow relevant to anything or useless. I describe my thoughts ...
54
votes
7answers
9k views

Lesser-known integration tricks

I am currently studying for the GRE math subject test, which heavily tests calculus. I've reviewed most of the basic calculus techniques (integration by parts, trig substitutions, etc.) I am now ...
54
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there a function with a removable discontinuity at every point?

If memory serves, ten years ago to the week (or so), I taught first semester freshman calculus for the first time. As many calculus instructors do, I decided I should ask some extra credit questions ...
53
votes
15answers
3k views

Why does the series $\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n$ not converge?

Can someone give a simple explanation as to why the harmonic series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1n=\frac 1 1 + \frac 12 + \frac 13 + \cdots $$ doesn't converge, but rather grows very slowly? I'd ...
51
votes
8answers
5k views

Proof that $C\exp(x)$ is the only set of functions for which $f(x) = f'(x)$

I was wondering the following. And I probably know the answer already: NO. Is there another number with similar properties as $e$. So that the derivative of $\exp(x)$ is the same as the function ...
50
votes
11answers
6k views

What is $dx$ in integration?

When I was at school and learning integration in maths class at A Level my teacher wrote things like this on the board. $$\int f(x)\, dx$$ When he came to explain the meaning of the $dx$, he told us ...
50
votes
2answers
2k views

Conjecture $\int_0^1\frac{dx}{\sqrt[3]x\,\sqrt[6]{1-x}\,\sqrt{1-x\left(\sqrt{6}\sqrt{12+7\sqrt3}-3\sqrt3-6\right)^2}}=\frac\pi9(3+\sqrt2\sqrt[4]{27})$

Let $$\alpha=\sqrt{6}\ \sqrt{12+7\,\sqrt3}-3\,\sqrt3-6.\tag1$$ Note that $\alpha$ is the unique positive root of the polynomial equation $$\alpha^4+24\,\alpha^3+18\,\alpha^2-27=0.\tag2$$ Now consider ...
50
votes
4answers
4k views

Motivation for Ramanujan's mysterious $\pi$ formula

The following formula for $\pi$ was discovered by Ramanujan: $$\frac1{\pi} = \frac{2\sqrt{2}}{9801} \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(4k)!(1103+26390k)}{(k!)^4 396^{4k}}\!$$ Does anyone know how it works, or ...
49
votes
7answers
2k views

What's so “natural” about the base of natural logarithms?

There are so many available bases. Why is the strange number $e$ preferred over all else? Of course one could integrate $\frac{1}x$ and see this. But is there more to the story?
48
votes
5answers
2k views

Compute $\int \frac{\sin(x)}{\sin(x)+\cos(x)}\mathrm dx$

I've got troubles in computing the below integral: $$\int \frac{\sin(x)}{\sin(x)+\cos(x)}\mathrm dx$$ I hope it can be expressed in elementary functions. I've tried simple substitution as $u=\sin(x)$ ...
48
votes
2answers
5k views

The Monster Integral

Compute the following integral \begin{equation} \int_0^{\Large\frac{\pi}{4}}\left[\frac{(1-x^2)\ln(1+x^2)+(1+x^2)-(1-x^2)\ln(1-x^2)}{(1-x^4)(1+x^2)}\right] x\, ...
47
votes
4answers
2k views

An integral involving Airy functions $\int_0^\infty\frac{x^p}{\operatorname{Ai}^2 x + \operatorname{Bi}^2 x}\mathrm dx$

I need your help with this integral: $$\mathcal{K}(p)=\int_0^\infty\frac{x^p}{\operatorname{Ai}^2 x + \operatorname{Bi}^2 x}\mathrm dx,$$ where $\operatorname{Ai}$, $\operatorname{Bi}$ are Airy ...
46
votes
13answers
7k views

Why do we need to learn integration techniques?

After a lifetime of approaching math the wrong way, I took two college math courses this quarter with a newfound zest for math. These classes are integral calc and multivariable calc. Integral calc ...
46
votes
2answers
504 views

Conjecture $_2F_1\left(\frac14,\frac34;\,\frac23;\,\frac13\right)=\frac1{\sqrt{\sqrt{\frac4{\sqrt{2-\sqrt[3]4}}+\sqrt[3]{4}+4}-\sqrt{2-\sqrt[3]4}-2}}$

Using a numerical search on my computer I discovered the following inequality: $$\left|\,{_2F_1}\left(\frac14,\frac34;\,\frac23;\,\frac13\right)-\rho\,\right|<10^{-20000},\tag1$$ where $\rho$ is ...
45
votes
2answers
3k views

Compute $ \lim\limits_{n \to \infty }\sin \sin \dots\sin n$

I need your help with evaluating this limit: $$ \lim_{n \to \infty }\underbrace{\sin \sin \dots\sin}_{\text{$n$ compositions}} n,$$ i.e. we apply the $\sin$ function $n$ times. Thank you.
45
votes
4answers
2k views

Showing that $\int\limits_{-a}^a \frac{f(x)}{1+e^{x}} \mathrm dx = \int\limits_0^a f(x) \mathrm dx$, when $f$ is even

I have a question: Suppose $f$ is continuous and even on $[-a,a]$, $a>0$ then prove that $$\int\limits_{-a}^a \frac{f(x)}{1+e^{x}} \mathrm dx = \int\limits_0^a f(x) \mathrm dx$$ How can I ...
44
votes
8answers
7k views

Nice proofs of $\zeta(4) = \pi^4/90$?

I know some nice ways to prove that $\zeta(2) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^2} = \pi^2/6$. For example, see Robin Chapman's list or the answers to the question "Different methods to compute ...
44
votes
6answers
2k views

The Intuition behind l'Hopitals Rule

I understand perfectly well how to apply l'Hopital's rule, and how to prove it, but I've never grokked the theorem. Why is it that we should expect that $$\lim_{x\to a}\frac{f(x)}{g(x)}=\lim_{x \to ...
44
votes
1answer
2k views

Conjecture $\int_0^1\frac{\mathrm dx}{\sqrt{1-x}\ \sqrt[4]x\ \sqrt[4]{2-x\,\sqrt3}}\stackrel?=\frac{2\,\sqrt2}{3\,\sqrt[8]3}\pi$

$$\int_0^1\frac{\mathrm dx}{\sqrt{1-x}\ \sqrt[4]x\ \sqrt[4]{2-x\,\sqrt3}}\stackrel?=\frac{2\,\sqrt2}{3\,\sqrt[8]3}\pi\tag1$$ The equality numerically holds up to at least $10^4$ decimal digits. ...
43
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the importance of Calculus in today's Mathematics?

For engineering (e. g. electrical engineering) and physics, Calculus is important. But for a future mathematician, is the classical approach to Calculus still important? What is normally taught, as a ...
43
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a function with the property$ f(n)=f^{(n)}(a)$

Is there a not identically zero, real-analytic function $f\colon\mathbb R\to\mathbb R$, which satisfies $$f(n)=f^{(n)}(a),n\in\mathbb N \text{ or }\mathbb N^+?$$ and $a\in \mathbb R$ I saw a ...
42
votes
5answers
2k views

Calculating the integral $\int_{0}^{\infty} \frac{\cos x}{1+x^2}\mathrm{d}x$ without using complex analysis

Suppose that we do not know anything about the complex analysis (numbers). In this case, how to calculate the following integral in closed form? $$\int_0^\infty\frac{\cos\;x}{1+x^2}\mathrm{d}x$$
42
votes
5answers
3k views

$n$th derivative of $e^{1/x}$

I am trying to find the $n$'th derivative of $f(x)=e^{1/x}$. When looking at the first few derivatives I noticed a pattern and eventually found the following formula $$\frac{\mathrm d^n}{\mathrm ...
41
votes
4answers
13k views

Construct a function which is continuous in $[1,5]$ but not differentiable at $2, 3, 4$

Construct a function which is continuous in $[1,5]$ but not differentiable at $2, 3, 4$. This question is just after the definition of differentiation and the theorem that if $f$ is finitely ...