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44
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

$dxdy=-dydx$ using Jacobian determinant. Why?

How do you reslove the contradiction due to the fact that $dxdy = dydx$ as per definiton of hyperreals ? Is this abuse of notation and by $dxdy$ its is actually meant $dx \wedge dy$ in both ...
68
votes
6answers
4k views

Is non-standard analysis worth learning?

As a former physics major, I did a lot of (seemingly sloppy) calculus using the notion of infinitesimals. Recently I heard that there is a branch of math called non-standard analysis that provides ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

infinitisimal part and the directional integral

In the paper A circle detection approach based on Radon Transform by Erman Okman and Gozde B. Akar. I have a few questions on some basics. first of all what does $$ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2$$ ...
10
votes
2answers
242 views

What meaning did Riemann assign to $dx$?

Detlef Laugwitz wrote a monumental biography of Riemann. The book was translated into English by Shenitzer. Laugwitz discusses Riemann's fundamental essay Uber die Hypothesen, welche der Geometrie ...
-1
votes
1answer
196 views

Could we assign a numerical value to an infinitesimal?

The common definition of 'infinitesimal' is that they are quantities that are too small to be measured or perceived. If we base the mathematically definition entirely on the common definition it ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Generalization for Stirling numbers 2nd kind to negative column-indexes?

The exponential generating functions for the Stirling numbers 2nd kind are the n'th powers of $f(x)=\exp(x)-1$ (where this is understood as formal power series, Abramowitz&Stegun, 26.8.12). ...
0
votes
3answers
63 views

Infinitesimal Unit of Measurement

This is just a question that popped into my head which I lack the knowledge to answer (or even to know whether there is an answer, honestly). Does the idea of an infinitesimal unit of measurement even ...
0
votes
4answers
157 views

Why can't the reals be constructed from the infinitesimal?

If the infinitesimal gives an unlimited precision as 1/∞ --> 0 Which can be thought of as the decimal 0.000000.....00000... then Why can't the reals, which demands, simply, unlimited precision (this ...
5
votes
3answers
103 views

What problems arise when using infinitesimals in calculus?

In contemporary real analysis we use a limit definition in terms of deltas and epsilons. Before that, people used infinitesimals to calculate limits. Is there a specific non-philosophical reason why ...
14
votes
2answers
761 views

Are infinitesimals dangerous?

Amir Alexander is a historian of mathematics. His new book is entitled "Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World". See here. Two questions: (1) In what sense are ...
9
votes
2answers
181 views

Newton's “Famous Blunder”?

On page $225$ of Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method by Niccolo Guicciardini (see here for a link), I read In the following demonstration... Newton made a famous blunder... He wrote, ...
9
votes
6answers
936 views

What is the meaning of infinitesimal?

I have read that an infinitesimal is very small, it is unthinkably small but I am not quite comfortable with with its applications. My first question is that is an infinitesimal a stationary value? It ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Help with this simple limit question

We have this definition: $$f(h)=O(h^p) \quad\text{if} \quad \lim_{h\rightarrow0}\frac{f(h)}{h^p}=K\neq 0$$ show this: $$O(h^2)+O(h^3 )=O(h^2)$$ So what we need to do is follow the definition: ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

$\approx$ and $\ll$ for different-order infinitesimals

This seems like a pretty basic question, but I've been searching around and haven't come across the answer. Consider two infinitesimal numbers, $\epsilon$ and $\epsilon^2$. On the one hand, it would ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Surface infinitesimals and its intuitive manipulation?

The excess pressure in the concave side of any liquid bubble or drop with surface tension of the liquid being $T$ is $\frac {4T}r$ and $\frac {2T}r$ respectively. I wanted to derive it using a ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

More than one dx under integral

Normally, integrals look like $\int{f(x)dx}$. But, I occasionally get something like $\int{dx\over 1+f(x)dx}$. Is it a sign of an error? Partcularly, I tried to relativistic constant force ...
2
votes
4answers
154 views

What is the answer to the paradox of the infinitesimal?

I just read this article on npr, which mentioned the following question: You can keep on dividing forever, so every line has an infinite amount of parts. But how long are those parts? If they're ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

If a square has a concrete area of $2 m²$, how long is its side?

If we make a square with an area of $2 m²$, its side is square root of $2$ then. Wouldn't that mean that the square root of 2 has a concrete length (and therefore point in the real numbers axis). We ...
7
votes
6answers
223 views

Definition of tangent

What is the formal definition of a tangent to a curve? The only one I can find is that it is a straight line drawn between two infinitely close points on the curve.
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Surface Area of a Sphere

I'm having trouble with finding the surface area of a sphere, without using any calculus. What I thought, was that the surface area of a sphere is fundamentally an infinite number of rings, ...
4
votes
0answers
82 views

Defining “Penon Infinitesimals”.

In this lecture (which is accompanied by these slides), right near the end (so page 9 in the pdf of the slides; I don't think you have to watch the lecture), P. Johnstone refers to the "Penon ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

In-depth explanation of infinitely small differences?

As in this question's title, could anyone give me an explanation of an infinitely small difference and how one would calculate it (if one could even do that)? I've been trying to learn calculus for a ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

find the the variable that maximizes a function

I have a function that I am trying to find for what input it maximizes. $$ f(n) = {\binom{S}{2}}^{n/S}$$ I need to find the $S$ for which this function maximizes (for infinite $n$). more generally, ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

If 0.99…=1 What about 0.89…=0.9?

I notice the general pattern is that ?.??999... equals to 0.??1 more than the repeating 9 part. Is it true?
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Infinitesimals in gradients

Take the function $y(\vec v)$ such that $y:\mathbb R^n\to\mathbb R$. Given it's gradient $\nabla y = \left(\frac{\partial y}{\partial v_1},\cdots,\frac{\partial y}{\partial v_n}\right)$, it is ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

Muddled Notions Regarding the Measurement of Quantities in Different Dimensions

In my calculus class, I've learned a lot about finding areas/volumes of various shapes by summing up infinitely small slices of 'something' and adding them all up. This is very interesting to me, but ...
2
votes
3answers
81 views

Functions and Infinitesimals?

My textbook says the following: $ads = v dv$ where $a$, $s$, $v$ are functions. I was introduced to integral calculus a semester ago, and Riemann Sums (and integrals) are the only notion of ...
10
votes
5answers
263 views

Is line element mathematically rigorous?

I know differentials (in a way of standard analysis) are not very rigorous in mathematics, there are a lot of amazing answers here on the topic. But what about line element? $$ds^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Is there a source linking Robinson's work in wing theory with his theory of infinitesimals?

Abraham Robinson worked in applied mathematics for several decades. MathSciNet lists 12 articles by Robinson in wing theory. His production included the book Robinson, A.; Laurmann, J. A. Wing ...
0
votes
5answers
232 views

What is the name of $0.\overline{0}1$

Short question: What is the name of the number closest but not equal to zero? Long question: Some programmers were discussing about the smallest number close to zero, which is ...
3
votes
5answers
521 views

What's the importance of “infinitesimally small” whenever calculus is explained

First of all, i just like reading and understanding things related to math, but NOT at all any expert in math. So, I apologize if the question seems dumb. It always puzzles me whenever a basic ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Limits and common sense

I'm stuck in understanding of limits. It all makes sense, but at a certain point my answers which seem logical to me are not true. Please can somebody explain why as a huge number gets divided by a ...
3
votes
1answer
232 views

infinitesimal calculus

I have been reading some non-standard analysis from Keisler's book and I think it is logically consistent till now but there are criticisms against it and why isn't non-standard analysis accepted more ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Small Lorentz Transformation

This is very simple and I can 50% understand it but would like to properly understand why it is. If we have an infinitesimal Lorentz transformation $\Lambda^\mu _\nu = \delta^\mu _\nu + \omega^\mu ...
17
votes
1answer
317 views

Calculus over $\mathbb{Q}$

The mismatch between the sensitivity of 'mathematical calculus' and the flexibility of 'real world calculus' has been bothering me a bit recently. What I mean is this: in the real world, I can trust ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

Non-standard analysis way of proving that derivative of $e^x$ is $e^x$

What is the non-standard (infinitesimal) analysis way of proving that the derivative of $e^x$ is $e^x$? I tried to prove it myself, but I am having a hard time proving this without recourse to ...
11
votes
7answers
245 views

Intuition for a real line vs. a “hyperreal line”

I am a student of pure mathematics but I have no formal background in nonstandard analysis. I came across the concept of a hyperreal field recently, read just a little about them, and followed the ...
5
votes
2answers
141 views

How can this result in Thermodynamics be rigorously proved?

In Fermi's "Thermodynamics" there's a proof of the formula: $$W=\int _{V_1} ^{V_2} p\,\text dV,$$that is, the work done by the pressure of a gas that expands from a volume $V_1$ to a volume $V_2$ on ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Perturbation in characteristic p, or Why, really, does Lie's theorem fail?

While recalling some basics of Lie theory, I found a funny proof of the main lemma in Lie's theorem on triangularity of representations of solvable Lie algebras. It turns out that this proof has a ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

How do mathematics define a point?

I have a serious doubt. How do mathematicians define a 'point' in a space or a plot? If we have a clear explanation for a 'point' , I think my doubt on infinitesimals and infinity will be clarified.
2
votes
4answers
345 views

Is there a scientific name for 0.infty?

First of all I want to say that when coming to math - I know absolutely nothing - so please forgive me if my question is not "scientifically" correct, if it is not "syntax-correct" - or even too ...
14
votes
3answers
461 views

Who gave you the epsilon?

Who gave you the epsilon? is the title of an article by J. Grabiner on Cauchy from the 1980s, and the implied answer is "Cauchy". On the other hand, historian I. Grattan-Guinness points out in his ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

Nilpotent infinitesimals comparison

I'd like to understand better the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to nilpotent infinitesimal numbers and their application to differential geometry in the context of physics and ...
6
votes
6answers
829 views

What does limit actually mean?

I have been in a deep confusion for about a month over the topic of limits! According to our book the limit at $a$ is the value being approached by a function $f(x)$ as $x$ approaches $a$ I have a ...
1
vote
1answer
336 views

Proof of Chain Rule using Nonstandard Analysis

I am trying to make an introduction and make myself comfortable with the Nonstandard Analysis in order to gain intuition for derivatives and integration. I am trying to prove myself the famous Chain ...
4
votes
3answers
144 views

non-archimedean in lay terms

I've dabbled with studying infinitesimals off and on for years ... Robinson, Keisler, Bell ("Smooth Worlds"), etc., even a bit of category theory. But I'm not a mathematician and tend to jump in way ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

differentiable function in R but non continuous derivative for any point in R

Need your help with the next Question (I thought about her and could not find an answer) Is there differentiable function for all R , so that the derivative is non continuous for any point in R ? ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

sum of legs of inscribed right triangle

Consider a right and isoceles triangle ABC inscribed in a circle such as its hypotenuse forms the diameter AB of the circle (the right vertex is thus at the "apex" of the circle). If we procede to an ...
3
votes
2answers
284 views

Definition of the integral in non-standard calculus

In the sources I've seen, the integral is defined in non-standard calculus as the hyperreal extension of a function related to Riemann sums. E.g., Let $$ S(\Delta x) = \sum_{a}^{b}f(x)\Delta x$$ be a ...