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Category Archives: calculus
Finding the Area of an Irregular Polygon
Finding the area of an irregular polygon via geometry can be a bit of a chore, as the process depends heavily on the shape of the polygon. It turns out, however, that there’s a formula that can give you the … Continue reading
Posted in analytic geometry, calculus, Green's Theorem
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Zeno’s Paradoxes
The ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea is known for proposing several paradoxes related to time, space, motion, and infinity. In this post we’ll focus on one of Zeno’s paradoxes and discuss how some ideas associated with calculus might or … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, infinity, logic, paradoxes, real analysis, sequences and series
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A Sequence of RightHand Riemann Sums Whose Limit Does Not Exist
Recently in my advanced calculus class one of my students asked a (perhaps the) key question when we hit the integration material: Why can’t you just use the limit of the righthand Riemann sums formed from equallyspaced partitions to define … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, real analysis
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A Bonus Question on Convergent Series
Occasionally when teaching the sequences and series material in secondsemester calculus I’ve included the following question as a bonus: Question: Suppose is absolutely convergent. Does that imply anything about the convergence of ? The answer is that converges. I’m going … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, sequences and series
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An arcsecant/arctangent integral
Recently in my integral calculus class I assigned the problem of evaluating . I intended for the students to recognize the integrand as similar to the derivative of arcsecant: This leads to the substitution , with . The original integral then … Continue reading
Posted in calculus
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Vandermonde’s Identity from the Generalized Product Rule
Vandermonde’s Identity, is one of the more famous identities involving the binomial coefficients. A standard way to prove it is with the following combinatorial argument. How many ways are there to choose a committee of size r from a group of n men … Continue reading
Posted in binomial coefficients, calculus, combinatorics
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A Simple Proof That the pSeries Converges for p > 1
Proving that the pseries converges for is a standard exercise in secondsemester calculus. It’s also an important property to know when establishing the convergence of other series via a comparison test. The usual way I do this in class is with the … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, sequences and series
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Euler Sums, Part I
Sums of the form , where (i.e., the nth harmonic number of order p) are sometimes called Euler sums. There are a large number of interesting ways to evaluate these Euler sums, such as converting them to integrals, applying complex analysis, … Continue reading
Posted in calculus, euler sums, real analysis, sequences and series
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The Product and Quotient Rules for Differential Calculus
A couple of weeks ago one of my senior colleagues subbed for me on the day we discussed the product and quotient rules for differential calculus. Afterwards he told me that he had never seen the way that I introduced … Continue reading
Posted in calculus
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